The Bottom Line
- Introduction will be invaluable to beginners unfamiliar with habitats, scientific names, etc.
- Each entry in this wildflower book has its own picture.
- Learn about the culinary and medicinal uses for wildflowers, as a bonus.
- More advanced readers will prefer a key system, such as is used in Newcomb's wildflower book.
- Introduction of this wildflower book will help beginners understand terminology used later in the book.
- Can't find the plant you're trying to identify? Before you put this wildflower book down, check the appendix on "weeds."
- Learn facts with which to impress your horticultural friends in the Comments section....
- For example: "The name Lousewort came from the belief that livestock would get lice if they ate the plant."
- Turn to the glossary in the back of the wildflower book if a term has you stumped.
Guide Review - Wildflower Book: North Woods Wildflowers
North Woods Wildflowers, by Doug Ladd, is a field guide to wildflowers native to a vast swath of land beginning in Minnesota and western Ontario and extending east through Quebec, Canada's maritime provinces and most of New York and New England. In addition, an appendix covers some of the better-known types of weeds introduced to the region by European settlers, some of which are considered invasive plants.
Unlike Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, which operates on a key system, North Woods Wildflowers is a more typical wildflower book, geared to beginners. The wildflowers are grouped together by color. Thus, if you are trying to identify a wildflower that is yellow, you turn to the chapter on yellow wildflowers and thumb through the pages, hoping there's an entry for the wildflower in question. It's obviously a flawed system, as wildflower identification is often not that simple. However, many beginners would be put off by a key system, the use of which requires greater effort. Consequently, while this wildflower book is competitive with other texts of the same nature, my recommendation to the serious wildflower identifier would be eventually to graduate from this book to Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, keeping North Woods Wildflowers on hand as a supplemental aid.
The section on each wildflower is divided into the following parts:
- Genus, species and plant family
- Bloom season
- Habitat and range
In addition, many entries have a Comments section, which is quite helpful. This is a catch-all section that allows the author to discuss culinary and/or medicinal uses for the wildflower in question and name derivations. Ladd also uses this section to distinguish between two plants easily confused by zeroing in on exactly what identifying features separate them.
This wildflower book's introduction covers a number of subjects, such as regional habitats, history, plant parts, leaf shapes and how to interpret all those funny scientific plant names.