By: Martin Walters and Mick Lavelle
256 pages, Over 1750 colour photos, illus, maps
Flowering plants provide a welcome and colourful sight, whether long-loved shrubby perennials or bright and fleeting annuals. They are vital to our ecology and a clear indication of the health of the countryside. Where wild flowers grow, bird, insect and animal life will thrive. Individually, the flowers that make up our landscape may seem small and indistint, blending with the background of their environment and fading after a day or so, or they may have large and brightly coloured flowerheads that attract attention and have an appealing texture that invites us to touch them.
The landscapes of North, Central and South America are crowded with a fabulous array of flora. A fascinating range of wild habitats, from the sparsley vegetated wastes of Alaska to the forests of new England and cactus-studded deserts of Mexico, make it a truly fascinating land of discovery for anyone interested in wild flora. Wild flowers survive and proliferate in many differing landscapes such as coniferous woodlands, chapparal, deserts, praries, woodlands, hedgerows and even in estuaries and sand dunes. The key features of each habitat found in the Americas are described, together with an analysis of the type of plants that exist in each and any common qualites they have.
This lavishly illustrated and expert new reference provides a comprehensive guide to the world of wild flowers and flora, including trees, shrubs, herbs, cacti, grasses, aquatic plants, moses and weeds. It explains in easy-to-understand language what wild flowers are and how they are classified. With clear photographs and watercolours it shows how to recognise the different parts of a plant, including petals, buds, fruit, seeds and stigma, and explains the role that each plays in the developing life of the plant. It explains the diversity of leaf and flower form, shape, structure and habit and shows how to use these features as a key to identification. The lifecycle of a wild flower is clearly explained, from tiny seed to bud, open flower, pollination, seedhead and finally seed dispersal.
The entries are arranged according to plant family and the key features of each are noted in full. For each entry, details include flower colour, size and shape; stem height and spread; leaf size, shape and colour; number of flowers per flowerhead and number of flowerheads per stem, as well as details of the environment and the pollinating insect. A map accompanies each entry, showing exactly where the species is known to proliferate.
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