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Recommendations for UK wildflower field guide (1 Viewer)

Sandy73

Well-known member
Good afternoon

Can anyone recommend any wildflower field guide covering the UK please.

I’m dipping my toe into the daunting world of botany and the complexity of common plants like buttercup (apparently up to 19) species) and dandelion is scary.

Thank you in advance.
 

Butty

Well-known member
There are thoughts and recommendations in this thread:

But a book that might be even better for you is:
It's not comprehensive but it does include everything you're likely to see, the text highlights all the most useful ID features, and the photos are extremely well chosen. Altogether an excellent and concise work. Available as Kindle which means you can keep it on your phone to be constantly available. Recommended.
 

Sandy73

Well-known member
There are thoughts and recommendations in this thread:

But a book that might be even better for you is:
It's not comprehensive but it does include everything you're likely to see, the text highlights all the most useful ID features, and the photos are extremely well chosen. Altogether an excellent and concise work. Available as Kindle which means you can keep it on your phone to be constantly available. Recommended.
thank you, I’ll investigate.
 

Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
If you prefer illustrations rather than photos The Wildflower Key by Rose is great if you want to carry it with you

If you don't mind a more weighty volume then Collins Wildflower Field Guide contains more species includes grasses and sedges and naturalised garden escapes.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
thank you, I’ll investigate.
Without looking at the previous thread, Francis Rose's the wildflower key and Marjorie Blamey, Fitter & Fitter's wildflowers. Stace is the definitive work but the most recent version is only in paper back iirc. The others and an earlier Stace arev available as electronic. There are several indispensable websites including bsbi (botanical society of the British isles)
 

Butty

Well-known member
If you prefer illustrations rather than photos The Wildflower Key by Rose is great if you want to carry it with you
If you don't mind a more weighty volume then Collins Wildflower Field Guide contains more species includes grasses and sedges and naturalised garden escapes.
These two, plus Harrap's Wild Flowers, are indeed my standard top three.
Wild Flower Key is what I'd recommend as the single best book if you have pretensions to seriousness - but it has too few whole-plant pictures to be attractive as a single book if you're not very keen.
Blamey is great for the reasons stated by Mono, but sadly suffers from Blamey's artwork, which is serviceable but which I've never liked (I actually can't understand how/why she's dominated mainstream flower guides for the last 50 years in a way that I'd call almost tragic).
The WF Key and Blamey aren't available as ebook-things, sadly (but I do have PDFs of them on my phone which work a treat - and you can probably find them on the internet just like I did - shhhh...).
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
I bought Rose's Wildflower Key way back in the early 90s and found it very useful, once I overcame the more technical aspects of the guide.

Considering that this book is not cheap, is it worth buying a more recent edition for the next time I'm in the UK? I appreciate that there will be taxonomic revisions for example, but would the early 90s version of the guide still be useful?
 

Butty

Well-known member
Plants don't change much over 30 years! - if you liked that book then, you'll like it just as much now ;) So, no, if you don't want to spend the cash, I wouldn't bother.
But... If I wanted a decent bot book for a mainly-birding trip to Australia (and, in principle, I do), and you told be there was an Oz equivalent of the UK Harrap book... I'd buy it like a shot.
 

chowchilla

Well-known member
I wish I could... alas I don't even have a comprehensive guide to the plants in my local area! There are some 2K species of tree in the vicinity of Cairns and myriad other plant species, many of which have barely been studied; many of which are no doubt unknown to science.

I have three of the Australian Rainforest Plants guides by Nan and Hugh Nicholson, which barely even begin to cover the number of species found here. Each guide covers a couple of hundred species. There are some 15K species of flowering plants in the rainforests here, which cover a tiny percentage of the continent; and God only knows how many more species in the other 97% of the continent. Just to cover the 12K species found in Western Australia would require a whole series of hefty volumes, which do not exist to my knowledge.

Floral guides here are grossly inadequate in covering the whole continent, and a large series of books would be needed to give you reasonable coverage in any given area; but then apart from vertebrates, butterflies and odonata, Aus has a miserly coverage of the rest of its flora and fauna in field guides; primarily I think because there are just too many species to cover. And the books go out of date so quickly- literally hundreds of new species of reptile have been discovered since I first bought a reptile guide to the continent back in the early 90s.
 

Butty

Well-known member
It is indeed a different and more-elaborate Creation. The only useful one I came back from WA with was a coffee-table-cum-field-guide thing that was massively incomplete but did let me put (possible) names to a few things.
But anyway... my point, in case it got lost in translation, was that, for the purposes of a trip to UK - if your needs are anything like mine (and they may be altogether more grown-up) - the Harrap thing could be exactly what you want.
 

Sandy73

Well-known member
If you prefer illustrations rather than photos The Wildflower Key by Rose is great if you want to carry it with you

If you don't mind a more weighty volume then Collins Wildflower Field Guide contains more species includes grasses and sedges and naturalised garden escapes.
Thank you for the suggestions, I’ll add them to the list.
 

Sandy73

Well-known member
Without looking at the previous thread, Francis Rose's the wildflower key and Marjorie Blamey, Fitter & Fitter's wildflowers. Stace is the definitive work but the most recent version is only in paper back iirc. The others and an earlier Stace arev available as electronic. There are several indispensable websites including bsbi (botanical society of the British isles)
Evening. Someone has mentioned the Francis Rose book. Thank you for the website info as well.

Regards.
 

Sandy73

Well-known member
These two, plus Harrap's Wild Flowers, are indeed my standard top three.
Wild Flower Key is what I'd recommend as the single best book if you have pretensions to seriousness - but it has too few whole-plant pictures to be attractive as a single book if you're not very keen.
Blamey is great for the reasons stated by Mono, but sadly suffers from Blamey's artwork, which is serviceable but which I've never liked (I actually can't understand how/why she's dominated mainstream flower guides for the last 50 years in a way that I'd call almost tragic).
The WF Key and Blamey aren't available as ebook-things, sadly (but I do have PDFs of them on my phone which work a treat - and you can probably find them on the internet just like I did - shhhh...).
Evening. Whilst in a local Waterstone’s I had a quick look at the Harrap. It doesn’t look to daunting or cluttered.

Regards
 

Sandy73

Well-known member
I bought Rose's Wildflower Key way back in the early 90s and found it very useful, once I overcame the more technical aspects of the guide.

Considering that this book is not cheap, is it worth buying a more recent edition for the next time I'm in the UK? I appreciate that there will be taxonomic revisions for example, but would the early 90s version of the guide still be useful?
Thank you for the recommendation, I’ll look it up.

Regards
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
These two, plus Harrap's Wild Flowers, are indeed my standard top three.
Wild Flower Key is what I'd recommend as the single best book if you have pretensions to seriousness - but it has too few whole-plant pictures to be attractive as a single book if you're not very keen.
Blamey is great for the reasons stated by Mono, but sadly suffers from Blamey's artwork, which is serviceable but which I've never liked (I actually can't understand how/why she's dominated mainstream flower guides for the last 50 years in a way that I'd call almost tragic).
The WF Key and Blamey aren't available as ebook-things, sadly (but I do have PDFs of them on my phone which work a treat - and you can probably find them on the internet just like I did - shhhh...).
Agree about the artwork. However, Blamey is the only one with maps afaik. Also has some species the others don't have esp. several London introduced species (e.g. green nightshade). Note that none except perhaps Stace has everything. For example thread-leaved ragwort is quite widespread but missing.
 

Butty

Well-known member
Blamey is the only one with maps afaik
In fact not! Harrap has maps for almost every species covered, and they're more detailed/better than Blamey's. (I must stop sounding like I have shares in the bloke, but it is a remarkably good book, given its remit.)
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
In fact not! Harrap has maps for almost every species covered, and they're more detailed/better than Blamey's. (I must stop sounding like I have shares in the bloke, but it is a remarkably good book, given its remit.)
Ahh that's one I don't have. Looks good if only around a third of the species. (Stace doesn't have maps---at least the ed I have).

For me all these are perfect examples of why the traditional paper database or e- version thereof (pdf etc) are or should be dead. I want much more flexibility to search by size, growth firm, flower colour, distribution etc or some combination of these.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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