Top positive review
This is the one
21 April 2009
This is easily the best book on trees that I have found, and I've tried several. I am very much a tree novice. I maintain a blog that charts the weekly progress of the small woodland and ecological park next to my home. I've been doing well with birds, insects and flowers but have floundered hopelessly when trying to identify trees and shrubs. I have purchaed several books but they have all left me pretty much where I started - dazed and confused. This book is the one. It opened up the whole subject for me and I am now happily identifying and learning about my local trees and shrubs with great confidence.
As well as the pages which focus on idenifying and describing the different species (pages 68 - 312) the openeing chapters deal with a range of fascinating and related topics (pages 4 -68). I found these to be of considerable interest and help. Pf particular use were "Basic Tree Biology", "Identifying Trees", "The Ecology of Trees and Woodland", "Winter Twig", "Comparing leaves" and "Comparing bark".
The descriptive pages are invaluable and easy to use. The left hand page of each pair of pages shows leaves and fruit details and a textual description, whilst teh right hand page is a selection of photographs showing key diagnostic features. These are not the same for all trees, because one feature may be more distinctive on one than another. As well as detailed photographs of leaves and fruit other features highlighted are flowers, bark, general outline of the tree/shrub and sometimes insects and fungi that may be associated.
On pages 64-65 there is a "Places to Visit" list, with web addresses, listing natural woodlands and arboreta that the enthusiast might like to visit. There is a map on the page to show approximate locations.
At the end there is a single index where species can be search by both common and latin names.
This is a superb book. The build is excellent, the pages are glossy, the photography is top quality and it simply yells professionalism.
Both enjoyable and useful, this is by far the best book on the subject that I have found so far.