Philip's Mini Guide to Trees is arranged into family groups, so that related species are found together. Following a brief introduction to trees, their structure, leaf shape and reproductive cycles, the book continues with an illustrated key making it straightforward to match any tree to its entry in the book. Following the introduction and illustrated key are the 250 individual species accounts and accompanying illustrations. The descriptions are organized into easy-to-navigate headings that cover both common and scientific names, physical appearance (describing bark, leaves, flowers and fruit) and flowering times and distribution. Also listed are species that share certain physical characteristics.
Accompanying the succinct but informative text are superb and generously scaled artworks, showing the entire tree, and detailed artwork of other identifiable elements, such as leaves, buds and fruit. The artworks feature leader lines to annotation that highlights key identifying characteristics of the species. In addition, an at-a-glance 'Key Identification' checkbox lists three essential physical features to look for when attempting to name a species.
"Philip's Mini Guide to Trees" will appeal to anyone with an interest in nature. The concise text and clear layout featuring good-sized annotated artwork will inspire confidence in newcomers, while the small format, identification-friendly features and recognized scientific organization will appeal to more experienced field naturalists.
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Chris Humphries is a former senior botanist at the Natural History Museum and the author of several books on trees.