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Selected Bibliography of Botany Books Relevant to Northeastern Wisconsin

Ferns and Fern-allies (include Horsetails, Clubmosses, Spikemosses and Quillworts)

  • Cobb, Boughton.1963. A Field Guide to the Ferns.Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 279 pp. An introductory level book. No keys, but many pictures illustrating the species. It covers the species of the northeastern and central U.S. This is one of the familiar "Peterson" series of field guides that are widely available.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 2. Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. Oxford University Press. New York. This is the current standard for Ferns and fern-allies. It is very thorough, with keys to all North American species, distribution maps and information on physical characteristics and habitats. It assumes a solid background in botany and might be overwhelming to a beginner. Hardcover, about $100.
  • Lelinger, David B.1985. A Field Manual of the Ferns and Fern-Allies of the United States and Canada.Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C. Thorough keys and descriptions, color photos of many species. A bit less daunting than the previous book, but still assumes basic knowledge of botany.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Barnes, Burton V. and Warren H. Wagner, Jr. 2004. Michigan Trees: A Guide to the Trees of the Great Lakes Region. University of Michigan Press. Good descriptions of trees, with line drawings of critical parts. Keys will require some practice, but a very good reference even if the keys aren't used. Available in paperback and hardcover.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 2. Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. Oxford University Press. New York. Thorough treatment of the Gymnosperms (all of our needled trees), as well as ferns (see above).
  • Petrides, George A. 1972. A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 428 pp. A good first book of trees; includes line drawings and descriptions of species. No keys, but the species are arranged to allow comparison of similar species. This is another of the familiar Peterson guides that are widely available.

Angiosperms (Flowering plants)
This group includes the "wildflowers" category. Some of these books also include the angiosperm trees and shrubs listed above.

  • Courtney, Booth and James H. Zimmerman. 1972. Wildflowers and Weeds. Van Nostrand Reinhold. Photographs of many species.
  • Crow, Garrett E. and C. Barr Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America. A revised and enlarged edition of Norman C. Fassett's Manual of Aquatic Plants. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, WI. A two volume set as shown below. This is definitely a technical manual and is not for the person with a casual interest in wetland plants. The beginning of Volume 1 (pages xix-Lv) is comprised of keys to families, supported by diagrams illustrating growth forms and essential plant anatomy. That section provides great value to the beginning student. Good, clear line drawings illustrate features throughout the two volumes. These books and the 3 volume set "Michigan Flora" by Voss are essential for any serious student of wetland plants in the western Great Lakes area.
    Vol 1. Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms: Dicotyledons.
    Vol 2. Angiosperms: Monocotyledons.
  • Fassett, Norman C. 1951. Grasses of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, WI. Line drawings of many species, complete keys and habitat descriptions. A little out of date, but still very useful.
    Fassett, Norman C. 1957. A Manual of Aquatic Plants. University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, WI. This is probably the best book to start with if you are serious about learning the wetland plants of Wisconsin. Thorough keys, line drawings of many species and habitat descriptions. Covers the northeastern United States.
  • Fassett, Norman C.1976. Spring Flora of Wisconsin: A manual of Plants Growing Without Cultivation and Flowering Before June 15. University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, WI. This book has been used in many University plant identification courses. It has keys to most species flowering before June 15, with descriptions of habitat and range in Wisconsin for each species. Very few pictures.
  • Fernald, Merritt Lyndon 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany. Eighth Edition. D. Van Nostrand Company. New York. A regional standard covering the northeastern United States. Keys can be difficult and the book is too large to be carried comfortably in the field. It is, however, a good source of information and remains an important book in spite of its age.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford University Press. New York. Vol. 3 of this proposed 30 volumes series. This volume is the first in the series to deal with angiosperms and includes many important and frequently encountered plants. Intended primarily for professional botanists or experienced amateurs. Good line drawings of some species and very thorough information. Their web site describes contents of Volumes 2,3 and 22 and even provides online access to the data.
  • Gleason, Henry A. 1952. The New Britton and Brown Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Hafner Press. New York. This three volume set includes pteridophytes (ferns and fern allies), gymnosperms and angiosperms. Keys, good line drawings of many species and thorough descriptions of characteristics; also describes habitats and ranges in the northeastern United States.
  • Gleason, Henry A. and Arthur Cronquist 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, New York. A one volume substitute for the preceding 3-volume set, without pictures, but more up to date. The best regional treatment of vascular plants of the northeastern United States, but intended for professional botanists or experience amateurs.
  • Peterson, Roger Tory and Margaret McKenny. 1968. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and Northcentral North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 420 pp. A good first wildflowers book with many line drawings, some in color. No keys; species arranged by flower color.
  • Swink, Floyd and Gerould Wilhelm 1994.Plants of the Chicago Region The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois. A unique book in style, and with very detailed descriptions of species. It is a good book in southeastern Wisconsin, but less so as you proceed north and west. In southeastern Wisconsin it is a "must have" book.
  • Voss, Edward G.1972. Michigan Flora. Cranbrook Institute of Science. The three volume set of Michigan Flora is essential for serious botanists in Wisconsin. It is also essential for the study of wetland plants. The books are exceptionally well done and are very reasonably priced. A good book for students of botany, whether in school or not. Volume three includes a comprehensive key to all angiosperms and also has an excellent key to aquatic plants that is the best for this region. This is definitely a technical manual, but it is the best available reference for the flora of Wisconsin.
    Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Bulletin 55.
    Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae - Cornaceae). Bulletin 59.
    Part III. Dicots (Pyrolaceae - Compositae). Bulletin 61.



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Last updated on April 15, 2014