19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A curate's illustrated egg,
This review is from: Collins Flower Guide (Britain and Ireland) (Paperback)
If you're seeking a simple field guide, this will be useful up to a point. It covers grasses and sedges too, which the better The Wild Flower Key (Revised Edition) - How to identify wild plants, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland does not. It also includes a variety of naturalised plants that might otherwise throw you on a field trip.
But the main problem with this guide is the great variability in its illustrations. Some are pin-sharp whilst others are soft and fuzzy. This is clearly a difference in artistic style. I think Collins would have done well to have user-tested the artists first and refined their choice, even if it meant waiting another year to produce the book. The illustrations of impossibly small bedstraws, for example, are crystal clear. Whilst vast numbers of the Compositae - cudweeds for example - need a hand lens even in the full-sized hardback. (The full-sized edition, incidentally, is a 3.2kg monster that can only be browsed at a table.)
Happily, the grasses are well illustrated and on a par with the illustrations in the Colour Identification Guide to the Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles and North Western Europe. Overall, it's a real shame that the illustratively strong parts of this guide are let down by the weaker paintings. But for the money, it's a steal. Go ahead and get one.