Mabberley's Plant-Book is internationally accepted as an essential reference text for anyone studying, growing or writing about plants. With some 26,000 entries, this comprehensive dictionary provides information on every family and genus of seed-bearing plant (including conifers), plus ferns and clubmosses, besides economically important mosses and algae. Mabberley's Plant-Book combines taxonomic details and uses with English and other vernacular names found in commerce.
The third edition was recognised in the American Botanical Council's annual James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award for 2008 and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy's Engler Medal in Silver for 2009. In this new edition, each entry has been updated to take into consideration the most recent literature, notably the greater understanding resulting from molecular analyses; over 1400 additional entries (including ecologically and economically important genera of seaweeds) have been included, ensuring that Mabberley's Plant-Book continues to rank among the most practical and authoritative botanical texts available.
How to use this book and get most out of it
Appendix: system for arrangement of extant vascular plants
Acknowledgement of sources:
1. Floras and handbooks, websites
Abbreviations and symbols (used in this book):
2. Authors' names
New names used in this book
Professor David Mabberley AM is an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, University of Oxford. He was consecutively Director of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, Seattle, USA; Keeper of the Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK; and Executive Director, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Australia. He is Professor Extraordinary at Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands, Adjunct Professor, Macquarie University Sydney, and Honorary Research Associate, National Herbarium of New South Wales, Sydney. He has received numerous awards for his work and the third edition of Mabberley’s Plant-Book was recognised in the American Botanical Council’s annual James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award for 2008 and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy’s Engler Medal in Silver 2009.
"I have to start by stating that this, in its previous editions, has been one of my five botanical reference books that I cannot envisage being without. It is incredibly difficult to explain to someone who does not know the book just why it is so indispensable and why, too, every few pages bring something that you really need to know. [...] This new edition, although coming only nine years after the last, continues to evolve in many ways, and, indeed, is 10% longer than its predecessor. This reflects, in a conservative way, the great advances made from molecular analyses; the addition of over 1400 new entries, together with some of the more important moss genera; and a mass of other tweaks, as set out in the new introduction. In particular, his comments on the continuing splitting of many of the major families make interesting and cautionary reading [...] Even though the price always makes me jib slightly, and I have never liked the tall but slimline format, this latest edition is another great step forward."
– David Pearman, British Wildlife 29(1), October 2017
"[...] Inevitably, given how much is squeezed in, there are lots of abbreviations [...] While this can make it initially difficult to penetrate the entries, that obstacle is soon overcome. This excellent book may not be readily portable but it is a handy book to have on the desk so when an unknown plant is encountered in reading it is there to help. So why not go straight to the Internet for help instead of having another book? The Introduction tells us (but I'm sure you'll know): the huge amount of information on the web on families genera and species is often uncritical, contradictory and just plain wrong. So here is a companion that is comprehensive and you can trust. But Mabberley also points out that using a book like this is just an enjoyable experience in itself, and educational as other entries catch the eye. Just like the Internet, this book can absorb a lot of time."
– Peter Thomas, BES Bulletin 48(3), September 2017
Praise for previous editions:
"I can scarcely improve on the hosannas sung in my review of the first edition [...] [it] is the single most used botany book I have, one that gets almost daily consultation"
– Rudolf Schmid, Taxon
"[...] a fact book for which I shall almost eternally be grateful. Botanists and serious gardeners everywhere should go down on their knees in gratitude for Cambridge University Press and for the travail of Dr D.J. Mabberley who has laboured to produce The Plant Book. I can only join fellow botanists and horticulturists in saying "Thank You""
– Stefan Buczacki, The Guardian
"The Plant-Book is now widely established as a classic botanical work and an essential reference for any person, professional or amateur [...] recommended as an essential and modern reference for anyone interested in botany."
– New Zealand Journal of Botany
"No-one working seriously with living vascular plants should be without a copy."
"Send your congratulations to Mabberley by purchasing a copy. It may encourage him to produce a [new] edition."
– P. Mick Richardson, Plant Science Bulletin
"This book is an extremely valuable reference for researchers in plant biology, and perhaps even more for those in other fields involving plants. The compact format of the book adds to its value, making it a portable reference."
– Neal M. Williams, The Quarterly Review of Biology
"This is first and foremost a reference for taxonomists and is a most handy and useful book for horticulturists wishing for a comprehensive single volume for taxonomic inquiry. The book contains an incredible amount of information and is a credit to the perseverance and work of Dr Mabberley."
– Allan M. Armitage, HortScience
"The 858 thin (but strong) pages, the hard cover, and the small dimensions [...] make this book the true portable, practical and most updated reference manual on today's market, and I recommend it to any person interested in plants."
"David J. Mabberley and his wondrous Plant-Book [...] being all encompassing and indispensable, the botanical equivalent of Johnson's Dictionary."
– Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books
"I am rarely without Mabberley's Plant-Book. Not only my desert-island book, it's one that would actually be useful on a desert island, even if the island had nothing more to offer than the cartoonist's obligatory coconut palm. Essential kit for botanists, gardeners and naturalists [...] Much more than a gazetteer of global flora, it includes the currently accepted botanical name of each genus, details of its distribution and ecology, its biology and taxonomic relationships, its vernacular names and the uses made of it by humankind. It achieves all this in only 1,040 pages by resorting to a botanical shorthand that's compressed but never cryptic."
– Country Life
"[...] this is a plant dictionary of a different sort, written for botanists, horticulturalists, ecologists and writers, and listing everything you could possibly need to know about plants."
– The Professional Gardener
"This book is in a class of its own. [...] this has long been, and still is, the book to have if you are interested in plants in any way. Should you want to know what family a plant genus is in, or how many species are in the genus Solanum, or what strange uses some plants are put to, this book is indispensable. [...] This book is unique. It is an indispensable resource that belongs on every plant lover's shelf, to be consulted often and to be enjoyed."
– The Plantsman
"[...] a very welcome update [...]"
"[...] indispensable for anyone who is writing about plants."
– The Mediterranean Garden