Ozark Plants is a full-colour field guide to over 500 plant species found in the Ozark Mountain region of southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, and the northeastern corner of Oklahoma. Illustrated with hundreds of colour photographs, the book describes each plant followed by a discussion of the plant's distribution, habitat, and value for wildlife and livestock. A key is provided so that the reader may more easily identify unknown plant specimens.
The Ozark region is a plateau and mountain area of more than 40,000 square miles at the western edge of the eastern deciduous forest and hosts a rich assemblage of plant species. Overall, nearly 3,300 vascular plant species are known from the region, within approximately 1066 genera and 186 families. This diversity is due, in part, to a long presence uninterrupted by glaciation, varied site and soil conditions, and a midcontinental geographic position. This geographical location has resulted in many species with distributional centres outside of the Ozarks reaching their range limits here. For example, the range of certain plants from the southwestern United States extends to the Ozarks, typically in dry-soil environments such as the glades. On moist, north-facing slopes, plants from the northern and eastern United States may be found. Some typically southern species occur in special habitats, including many parts of the Boston Mountains.
Steve Chadde is the author of popular plant identification field guides such as Wetland Plants of the Upper Midwest, Wisconsin Flora, Minnesota Flora, Michigan Flora: Upper Peninsula, Northeast Ferns, and Alaska Trees and Shrubs. Following graduation from the University of Wyoming and Montana State University, he worked as a plant ecologist and botanist for organizations such as the USDA Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy. His books have proven to be valuable references for researchers and students. After a decade in the Philippines, he now lives in the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas.