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Frustrating Flowers and Puzzling Plants

Frustrating Flowers and Puzzling Plants

Frustrating Flowers and Puzzling Plants

Identifying the difficult species of Britain and Ireland

By John M. Warren

  • Covers all the main difficult groups of Britain and Ireland in a clear, accessible style.
  • The tabular keys are much easier to use than conventional dichotomous keys.
  • Key diagnostic features are illustrated in simple, no-nonsense diagrams.



If you have tried to identify wildflowers, you'll already know exactly what is meant by the main title of this book. Although a lot of plants are relatively straightforward to recognise, many others are not. Standard wildflower books tend to provide as much guidance with identifying the easy and distinctive as they do with complex, tricky species. This ingenious book is designed to come to the rescue of the exasperated novice botanist and to help those more experienced who might be stuck on unfamiliar and complex groups.

From willows to water-crowfoots, from eyebrights to dandelion look-a-likes, all of us have struggled with baffling specimens or the seemingly cryptic. Presented here is a fresh new approach to identifying difficult plants by giving you an understanding of the biology behind their complexity. In simple language, you will be directed to the particular parts of the plant that you need to look at most closely. The tabular keys are more user friendly and evolutionarily valid than conventional dichotomous keys, which are often confusing and unwieldy. Each chapter contains illustrations of the plants' key diagnostic features, rather than of entire plants. Other novel aspects include coverage of the historical recognition of complexity within each group, which is used to inform debate about the level of resolution that may be most appropriate for your needs.

This accessible guide is the perfect chance to get to grips with that challenging group you keep saving for 'next year' or for untangling a botanical mystery which keeps repeating itself.


About the Author

John Warren has had a long academic career researching the origins of botanical diversity and promoting public understanding of science. Having been Professor of Botany at Aberystwyth University, in 2016 he became Vice Chancellor of the Papua New Guinea University of Natural Resources and Environment. Now retired back in the UK, he is an Associate Tutor for the Field Studies Council.

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