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Most traditional floras or identification guides to plants use flowers and fruits as the main means of identification and recognition as these are the most obvious and stable parts of the plant. However, in rainforests the flowers and fruits are usually held high in the canopy of the forest and so difficult to collect and thus determine the name of the plant. Also, flowers are usually seasonal and produced on the plants for only a short time each year.
The system used in this guide is based on the details of the leaves and branchlets. Leaves can readily be collected from young plants, from trees on the edge of the forest or picked up from the forest floor. This system was largely developed by the late John Williams (of the University of New England, Armidale). Each species has line drawings of leaves and fruit and a description of its main features, its geographic distribution and the type of rainforest in which it grows.
The book has now been completely rewritten, while keeping the essentials of the original format. It will enable the identification of rainforest trees and shrubs using vegetative features. It has been brought up to date with additional species and more comprehensive information. It includes descriptions of 850 species, each with leaf and fruit drawings.