Favorite I.D. books?

Discussion in 'Plant and Tree Identification' started by Hears The Water, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. Hears The Water

    Hears The Water Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 2, 2002
    S.W. MO
    Ok folks, I was thinking it would be fun for us all to list our favorite books for identifying "weeds", plants and trees. Here is my list.

    Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plats in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places by "Wildman" Steve Brill with Evelyn Dean.
    This was my first book that I owned. There are wonderful drawings that give you some of the best details. It also breaks down into locations and seasons. There is a great resource that tells of any toxic or poisonious look alikes. There are also recipes in the back.

    Missouri Wildflowers (5th edition) by Edgar Denison. This has wonderful color photographs and lists the plants in order of appearance. I have my "life list" in this one!

    Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. I don't actually own a copy of this one, but my local library usted to have one and it was the first book that I read that got me hooked on this hobby. Hmmm, I think I need to head over to ebay or amazon to find me a copy of this book! LOL

    God bless you and yours
    wildmansteve likes this.
  2. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2004
    peterson guide to north american edible plants. probably got ti sometime after graduation. few color plates but excellent pen & ink drawings. only id basic representative species, but covers all the plants that most people would have a question about.

  3. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2003
    another vote for petersens!

    then again, the very first one i bought was about 20 years ago, from rader's digest. i still use it. over the years i have been surprised how many plants and animals it manages to pack into less than 300 pages. all the most common stuff is in there.
  4. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    We use the National Audubon Field Guides for all kinds of identification questions. They have a field guide for almost every subject imaginable:

    National Audubon Society Field Guides to North American ...

    Birds: Eastern Region (Rev. Ed.). ISBN 0-679-42852-6
    Birds: Western Region (Rev. Ed.). ISBN 0-679-42851-8
    Butterflies. ISBN 0-394-51914-0
    Fishes, Whales, & Dolphins. ISBN 0-394-53405-0
    Fossils. ISBN 0-394-52412-8
    Insects and Spiders. ISBN 0-394-50763-0
    Mammals (Rev. Ed.). ISBN 0-679-44631-1
    Mushrooms. ISBN 0-394-51992-2
    Night Sky. ISBN 0-679-40852-5
    Reptiles and Amphibians. ISBN 0-394-50824-6
    Rocks and Minerals. ISBN 0-394-50269-8
    Seashells. ISBN 0-394-51913-2
    Seashore Creatures. ISBN 0-394-51993-0
    Trees: Eastern Region. ISBN 0-394-50760-6
    Trees: Western Region. ISBN 0-394-50761-4
    Weather. ISBN 0-679-40851-7
    Wildflowers: Eastern Region. ISBN 0-394-50432-1
    Wildflowers: Western Region. ISBN 0-394-50431-3

  5. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    southwest AR
    For anyone in the south, Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of East Texas by Elray S. Nixon, illustrated by Bruce Lyndon Cunningham, is a great resource. Instead of photos, this book has fabulous botanical drawings. The benefit of this is that the artist can show what is really typical of a plant. Also various stages of flower and fruit development are illustrated, as well as wintertime leafless budding twigs - often a very useful aid in identification. There are easy to use simple keys and an illustrated glossary that provide an excellent introduction to keying for those who are a little afraid to try it.

    I live in Arkansas, and rely heavily on the late great Carl G. Hunter's guides, including Wildflowers of Arkansas, Trees, Shrubs and Vines of Arkansas, and Autumn Leaves and Winter Berries of Arkansas. I am sure these would be useful to most southerners. They are published by the Ozark Society Foundation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

    My mushroom book is Roger Phillips' Mushrooms of North America. It has good photos with very true color and two keys, one being for beginners.

  6. mzzlisa

    mzzlisa Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Central Indiana
    American Hort Society "Great Plant Guide". Its small, green, and lists 3000 plants with color photos and lists in the back for color schemes, dry climates, etc. Its great to take to the nursery when you're shopping for plants.

    And anything by Michael Dirr- "Hardy Trees and Shrubs", "Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates", and my favorite- "The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants". They are expensive books, but worth every penny if you're seriously into identification and care.
  7. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    NE Ohio
    I like the Golden fieldguides best. The illustrations are good, and in full color. For more obscure herbs, I have a book called the Encyclopedia of Herbal medicine (DK I think) that has great pictures and descriptions.
  8. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    northern Oklahoma

    I like my little copy of Roadside Flowers of Oklahoma by Doyle McCoy for common flowring plants here in the southern Great Plains. The audobon books are nice to be able to see a picture of the plants, once you have keyed it out. I use A Manual of the Flowering Plants of Kansas by TM Barkley published by the Kansas State University Press. I also use Keys to the Flora of Oklahoma by U.T. Waterfall, published by Oklahoma State University press. I also use Fruit Key & Twig Key to Trees & Shrubs by Wiliam M. Harlow, PH.D, How To Identify Plants by H.D. Harrington and L. W. Durrell, and finally the large Flora of the Great Plains by the Great Plains Flora Association, University of Kansas Press.

    The Reader's Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants has excellent drawings of plants also. Take a sample of the whole plant with flowers and fruit(seeds) with the root. The root is important.

    For "tame" non-native plant identification, try your local extension office's Expert Gardener. I've been told that there is a good demant for taxonomists in the ornamental plant industry. If you like taxonomy, check it out.

    One cannot beat a visit to a herbarium to compare plants for positive identification though. Most agricultural extension offices have folks who can identify your "weeds" for you too.

    My botany Prof. gave us this definition of the word "weed." A weed is a plant that is growing where you don't want it to grow.
    commonthistle likes this.
  9. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

    Nov 15, 2003
    I like "Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest" it is a really interesting book with information that is helpful to me as I am interested in wild edibles. I also have a field guide "Broad-Leaved Herbaceous Plants of South Texas" (used by livestock and wildlife) I have a few other and am always scrounging around looking for others.

    Thanks Debbie for posting this. I love all the information and will be looking for some of the books that y'all have posted here. :)

  10. Wildcrofthollow

    Wildcrofthollow Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Hands down the best book for identification of herbaceous plants, vines and some shrubs in the Eastern US for the beginner/intermediate is Newcomb's Wildflower guide. The key is easy to use and will get you there almost every time. The number of plants it contains is remarkable. I always look in Newcomb's before I go looking in something heavy.

    Heavy things:
    Grays manual of botany 5th ed. God help you if you must venture here. The plant you are looking for IS in there but you better have a degree in botany before you go looking in it. The folks that use this tome are either very educated or really nuts about learning about plants (that would be me)

    Vascular Flora of the Carolinas If you live near the Carolinas, It will be in there, unfortunately, again, you need that botany degree. (or the aforementioned insanity)

    For Trees and Shrubs... I agree with the other folks here, Peterson's Field Guide to Eastern Trees is better than the Field guide to Trees and shrubs, but I carry the one for Trees and shrubs. (I run into more shrubs that I am unfamiliar with than trees)

    Great thread, thanks for posting it. I'm sorry it took me so long to say anything.
  11. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2005
    Bristol, ny
    Any of Michael Dirr's books.
    Resident of Athens Georgia too for all our southern neighbors.
    IMHO the best in the world at identifying plants.
    P.S. Mr Dirr you can send the money to my website when I get one. :)
  12. Susan4

    Susan4 Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Another vote for Audubon's guides here, mine are well worn. I especially find the eastern region trees helpful. Dirr's is helpful for landscape varieties and shrubs too.

  13. TrailDog

    TrailDog Member

    May 5, 2005
    I'll submit another vote for Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. I've had mine since 1995 and have never found another field guide that I like better.

  14. doodlemom

    doodlemom Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Newcombs wildflower guide and William M Harlow's Fruit Key and Twig key
  15. Zuska

    Zuska Active Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Northwest Washington
    Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and McKinnon.

    The best I've seen for us Pac Northwesterners. Also:

    Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest by Eugene Kozloff.....I had his daughter in one of my wild foraging workshops last year.

    Mountain Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Taylor and Douglas
    botanygal likes this.
  16. Junkmanme

    Junkmanme Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    "Organic Plant Protection" Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-110-8
    Edited by Roger B. Yepsen, Jr.
  17. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Jun 16, 2002
    South Central Kansas
    Weeds of the Great Plains published by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

    Wildflowers and weeds of Kansas by Janet E. Bare.

    Weeds in Kansas by Frank C. Gates Ph.D.
  18. homegrownlovin

    homegrownlovin Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    I see a lot of good books listed here that I've looked at and used. I also like:

    Wildflowers of the Big Thicket, East Texas, and Western Louisiana; as well as Wild Flowers of Texas, both by the same author, but I can't remember how to spell her last name. She's Cherokee.

    Edible Native Plants of The Rocky Mountians, by H. D. Harrington.

    American Indian Food and Lore.

    Edible Wild Plants by Thomas S. Elias and Peter Dykeman.

    Reader's Digest North American Wildlife. This was my first book.

    There are also many many good websites. One of my favorites is: www.swsbm.com. The plant pics are great.
  19. sage_morgan

    sage_morgan Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Roughly where IA, NE and SD come together, on the
    I officially *puffy heart* love Weeds of the Great Plains! I have the older white copy, and the green is better. I grew to love roadside weeds and native plants using this as one of my texts several years ago.

    I also love Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie, an ethnobotanical guide; and Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie, an ethnobotanical guide, both by Kelly Kindscher.

    Cool comment about using a flora to identify plants (the "god help you" comment). Some plants its a snap; other plants (distinguishing between 18-odd types of solidagos), a PAIN!
  20. kypossumdog

    kypossumdog Active Member

    Jun 2, 2004