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The Wild Flower Key (Revised Edition) - How to identify wild plants, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland Paperback – 30 Mar 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Warne; Rev Ed edition (30 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0723251754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0723251750
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3.4 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Original author

Dr Francis Rose, MBE

Dr Rose is one of our best-known botanists, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the lichen and bryophyte flora as well as of flowering plants, and of plant ecology and biogeography. His career as a botanist began at the age of six, learning to identify plants on country walks and after graduating in botany from London University, he spent most of his working life teaching there until retirement in 1981. This remains his most popular book, which took over 20 years to write and represents a lifetime's experience of plant identification.

Author of revised and expanded second edition

Clare O'Reilly

Clare O'Reilly (previously Coleman) is a freelance botanist and writer who left her career as an environmental lawyer in order to revise this book. She recently gained an MSc in Plant Taxonomy but was a self-taught amateur botanist for many years. Her passion for plants began after winning a wild flower-in-a-vase competition, aged seven. Clare teaches beginners courses on plant identification and this experience, coupled with Dr Rose's expertise in the original text, enables this revised edition to be even more useful for those new to field botany.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

245 of 247 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Sharpe on 13 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first edition of Rose's "Wild Flower Key" appeared 25 years ago, immediately becoming one of the handiest illustrated plant guides ever produced and about the best available for British flowering plants. It covered all native and long-naturalised flowering plants of the British Isles except for grasses, sedges and rushes in addition to the commoner plants of NW Europe. That added up to 1450 species covered.

The second edition is similar to the first in most respects and builds on the strengths of the previous edition. In fact, it is so similar that I think I could have got by with my old, well-thumbed first edition copy. As one would guess from the title, this guide has a strong emphasis on keys, and they are meant to be used in plant identification - together with the text and illustrations, of course. There is a 23 page general key to families at the beginning of the book and additional keys throughout that treat important families and genera. In this edition, some groups are provided with entirely new keys. However, the 51 pages of vegetative keys by habitat remain unchanged. I used the keys of the first edition a lot and found them to be very good indeed.

As for the plates, most of them are unchanged, although the quality of printing appears to have improved somewhat. The illustrations are simple, clear, detailed and ideally suited to plant identification. In some cases there are new line drawings comparing the key features of similar species. The succinct text is set opposite the illustrations, so that all information on a species is found on a single page spread. The text has been revised and there are new "ID tips" boxes to highlight differences between similar species.
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127 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. C. L. O'reilly on 24 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
The second edition of this classsic guide has been long coming: in 25 years since the book was published, many people are surprised to learn that there have been many changes to our knowledge of wild plants.

Many features used in identification have been shown to be inaccurate. Scientific names have changed. Many non-native species have become relatively widespread.

This second edition does differ dramatically from the first, but it's all in the detail:

1. there are over 100 new line drawings of diagnostic parts of plants;

2. there are 150 new colour plant portraits;

3. over a third of the genera keys have been re-written as many did not work!

4. national referees (i.e. top experts) have written keys for difficult groups such as willowherbs and water-starworts;

5. there are completely new keys, which did not appear in the old edition e.g. to fine-leaved mayweeds;

6. the new introduction is twice as long, with much additional information to assist beginners;

7. the new glossary is three times as long, packed with new line illustrations;

8. there are new features to assist those working in conservation, such as marking plants as BAP species and with their protected species and/or red list status;

9. there is a compilation of the lastest research on ancient woodland indicator species;

10. the new edition includes extra identification tips, from the new author's experience and from specialist publications like Plant Crib, not published in any other field guide.
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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 May 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The original edition of this book was released when I was only a 1 year-old. As a young girl, growing up near to a forest, surrouded by lovely countryside, I remember taking a passing interest in the wildlife and the flowers. For a time, this interest left me, and I began to forget all the knowledge my mum had passed onto me about the wild plants. Recently, I have longed to get this knowledge back, and to expand on it. Finding this book on Amazon, I felt I could not pass it by.

Although it is not meant as a handy field book - the sheer size of it prevents this - this is a great book both for the beginner (like me) and for those who already have a fair bit of knowledge.

The book is organised well, with lovely drawings of the plants. There is also a good introduction to the book, followed by lots of information about how to use the book, the equipment you may want to get, a guide on flower structure, where to find out more, along with other titbits of info.

For the true beginner, there is also a list of abbreviations, as well as an illustrated glossary at the back of the book.

The general key to plant families is a valuable asset to this book; beginners could not be without it.

This is an excellent edition, of what I understand to be a classic text on wild flowers and their identification. I am very pleased with my choice in beginning with this text to guide me on discovering more about wild flowers, trees and shrubs. Although I have a long way to go, I think this will help me immensely; now, as a beginner, I would not be without it.
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