The subtitle: A Guide to the Names, Haunts and Habits of Our Common Wild Flowers is an accurate description of what you’ll find in the book. But I think the subtitle should be: When Field Guides Were Fun. Each section covers the plants with flowers of the same color, which makes it “field friendly.”
My brief count-up of the indexed plants shows that the 1906 book has about 750 plants listed, but the 1963 version lists over 1,000 plants. Since the author died in 1952, I wonder who added the 250 plants. A deeper look into the book reveals that plants were not simply added, some were deleted or their names were changed. Botanical names change frequently as knowledge is discovered. In the last 5-10 years, the application of DNA evidence has revealed that some plants formerly thought to be members of different families share DNA. Although I may be reading different names for the same plant, that still doesn’t change the physical appearance, habitat, or growth pattern of the plant in the field.
JJ Murphy is a freelance nature writer, photographer, blogging hiker, forager, locavore, and tree-hugger with more than 50 years of eco-centric living experience. Visit www.WriterByNature.com if you need relevant content that captures your personal style and tone.