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The orders included in this work are the Annonales, Berberidales, Nymphaeales, and Sarraceniales. The fifteen families that comprise them are generally conceded by most botanists to be among the most primitive living plants in the world today. These orders can be characterized generally as woody in the Annonales (except for the Saururaceae and some Aristolochiaceae), herbaceous in the Berberidales (except for the Menispermaceae and some Berberidaceae), aquatic in the Nymphaeales, and insectivorous in the Sarraceniales.
The nomenclature for the species and lesser taxa in this volume has been chosen after lengthy study of recent floras and monographs. Synonyms, with complete author citation, which have applied to species in the northeastern United States, are given under each species. Each description, while not necessarily intended to be complete, covers the more important features of the species.
As in previous volumes in this series, the common name, or names, is the one used locally in Illinois. The habitat designation is not always the habitat throughout the range of the species but only in Illinois. Ranges have been compiled from various sources, including herbarium material and field studies. Dot maps showing county distribution for each taxon are provided. Each dot represents a voucher speciman deposited in some herbarium.
Each species is illustrated, depicting the habitat and distinguishing features. Because of the scientific exactitude and practical usefulness of this distinguished series, the eighth volume devoted to flowering plants--ninth volume in thd series--will find a welcome place in reference collections and in the field.