Publisher: Oxford University Press Date of Publication: 2005
Price: £ 25.00 ISBN:0 19 851574 X
Pages: xvii + 431 Format: Hardback

Overall Score:

Target Readership Sen. Secondary For help with criteria, click here


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1 - Palm-like trees; 2 - Scale-leaved conifers; 3 - Single-leaved conifers; 4 - Pines; 5 - Simple untoothed leaves - alternate; 6 - Simple untoothed leaves - opposite; 7 - Simple untoothed leaves - alternate saw toothed; 8 - Simple toothed leaves - opposite; 9 - Lobed leaves - alternate; 10 - Lobed leaves - opposite; 11 - Lobed leaves, clearly toothed - alternate; 12 - Lobed leaves, clearly toothed - opposite 13 - Digitate leaves; 14 - Trifoliate leaves - alternate; 15 - Trifoliate leaves - opposite; 16 - Pinnate leaves - alternate; 17 - Pinnate leaves - opposite.



The one aspect that's essential in ecological and environmental education is correct identification. The one aspect that's also one of the more difficult especially for the non-botanically trained is identification! It follows that anything that might help the process is to be welcomed. Given that this reviewer comes from a non botanical background the arrival of this text was eagerly anticipated.

The basic idea behind the book is that people are trying to identify a tree from a limited knowledge base using what they can see rather than a technical description they might read. There's also the issue of introduced species which often heavily augment the local species. In this book the whole idea is to make the process as simple as possible. Rather than group by genera of family, it groups by leaf characteristic (as can be seen in the chapter headings above). Within each section there's a number of pages devoted to trees with similar leaf patterns. Each entry (usually one per double page but it can be up to three for sub-species) contains a detailed description (leaves, bark, growth habit etc.), habitat and ecology and similar species with which it might be confused. A small map aids species distribution data for native species with a note on the cultivated distribution. The remaining page is filled with excellent colour photographs of the tree as a specimen, bark, growth patterns, leaves and flowers.

As with any identification book it depends on the skills of the user but this text does make it very simple. The quality of presentation throughout is excellent and the photographs show considerable detail with great clarity. This is a good idea that has been put together to produce a high-quality guide. As such it would be an excellent addition to any personal, school or field centre library.


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