BioInfo (UK)

Rose, F. & O'Reilly, C., 2006

The Wild Flower Key - How to identify wild flowers, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland

Dr Rose's classic flora book has been extensively revised. The focus is now exclusively Britain and Ireland, so the continental speceis have been removed, as have the line drawings of grasses etc.

The keys to families has grown to 23 pages and apply to plants in flower. This is followed by a set of keys to plants not in flower, arranged by habitat - these are unchanged from the previous edition and fill a further 45 pages.

The main text surveys the families, with keys to genera, and generic keys for the larger genera. The species accounts are arranged to face the illustrations, as far as possible, and include a brief description, distribution, habitat and flowering period. The slightly annoying habitat abbreviations are listed on p9 ("hths" is heaths).

A lot of additional information has been added including plant status (ie native or introduced - surprisingly the authors shied away from neophytes/archeophytes) consrvation and rarity status and references to other works.

This is likely to become the preferred illustrated work of most higher plant botanists. It contains a phenomenal amount of information and good pictures.

Publisher Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.
Pages 480
ISBN 0 7232 5175 4
Edition New revised and expanded edition
Comments and Corrigenda In the publisher's rush to meet deadlines the final set of corrections was omitted and are included on a loose sheet of A4. This is most annoying to the reader (and must be absolutely infuriating to the authors!)

The significant ones are as follows:
P119: sepal on Ea, B, Ca should be whitish tinged green as H.
P132 C Sharp-toothed leaves (A) replace A with C.
P156 A add "stamens (or staminodes) 10"
P156 A seeds (Ab) USUALLY with
P156 B add "stamens 2-7(-10)"
P363 A add "nutlets black-brown, shiny, smooth"
P364 E add "nutlets with minute bumps , dull"
P410 D is Greater Bladderwort not Common Bladderwort
P476 id box - blue section should read: "Smooth and Marsh hawk's-beards are the only common Crepis spp that are hairless (except on the involucral bracts and sometimes on the lf underside mdrib)"
P497 Id tips duckweed L. minor is "obovate to rounded" rather than "oval to rounded".
P497 Key couplet 5: L. minor is obovate rather than ovate.
P525 Helleborine Id tips: add Dune to list in blue box.

There is also an erratum in the errata:
P410 B says "add text: spur (Ba)" but there is no illustration Ba. It presumably refers to the lower illustration under B which is obvious anyway.

Unfortunately, Tony Primavesi has chosen to distance himself from the key to Rosa which bears his name. The main difficulty is the misleading substitution of "winding" for "flexuous" to describe stems.
Coverage Over 1600 spp are described and more than half are illustrated. This includes almost all native and archeophyte spp of the British Isles and many aliens but excludes critical groups. Grasses, sedges, rushes and ferns are also excluded as they are covered in Rose's 1989 guide.
Illustrations Numerous pages of good colour paintings, with line drawings and further paintings liberally interspersed in the text.
Identify In the field (also useful to examine with x8 or x10 hand lens).

Malcolm Storey

Taxonomic Scope

MAGNOLIOPSIDA (flowering plants) Identification Current


Tony Primavesi's reservations Primavesi, T., 2006
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