Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

My Key Resources for Wildflowers

This post's for Nutty Gnome, who recently reviewed a 'sample' of Sarah Raven's latest opus on wildflowers. I said in her Comments my copy of The Wild Flower Key by Francis Rose takes a lot of beating when it comes to the art of identifying our wild flora.

It's small enough to take into the field and allows me to identify both flowering and non-flowering plants. Much of the text is abbreviated so you need to decode it first, but this allows a lot of detail to be crammed into a relatively small volume.

As you can see from the cover it's also beautifully illustrated. An updated version was recently published, so it's better than ever.

I'm also a big fan of the laminated guides produced by the Field Studies Council such as those shown on the left and right of this picture. I have quite a few of these, but the ones on grass identification and the structure of flowers are particularly good.

I have a few of the AIDGAP* guides too - these are for knottier subjects which need a more detailed explanation. I have the Soil Types one -more as a fond memory of happy times digging soil pits at school and university - but I did use some of it to check out the soil in my garden when we first moved here.

These are just some of the my key resources [key - geddit??? Ed] you might find useful if you want to study the UK's wildflowers in more detail. Do you have a favourite to add to the list?

* = Aids to Identification in Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants. I was involved in testing the one for identifying freshwater fish and lampreys just after I finished my Masters degree :)

6 comments:

  1. I like the look of the laminated guides - the soil types guide is bit beyond me though.

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  2. Mark - to be honest it's getting a bit beyond me too - I used to understand it all perfectly!

    The laminated guides are fab - worth checking out the entire range, though I suspect you've probably got oodles of guides already.

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  3. I have always used the Collins Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers by David McClintock and R. Fitter - to me this is the wildflower 'bible'

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  4. Elaine - that's a good one too. I have Fitter's (with co author Manuel) Collins Photo Guide to Lakes, Rivers, Streams and Ponds which is excellent on the freshwater side of things.

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  5. Our bookshelves are bulging when it comes to wild flower literature, though I didn't know about the laminated guides. Thanks for the tip.

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  6. Petra - you're welcome :)

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