UK Amateur botany - where do I start?

Simon Penson spensonwanson at
Mon Sep 25 11:00:09 EST 1995

In article <43jr2v$ptn at>, Andrew Douglas <amd> wrote:

> Hi,
> I've recently re-discovered a passion for wild plants, and would
> like to get into it in a more serious fashion.  I'm not sure, though,
> where to start.

To start of with, I used Francis Rose's Wild Flower Key (I think that's
the title, about 8 quid). It has an excellent botanical key, with good
pictures to match. Far superior to the `flowers by shape/colour' which the
Fitters produce. You'll get all the common flowering plants from this, but
it's thin on grasses, sedges and rushes, and has no ferns. 

Once you start getting your eye in, get the Clapham, Tutin and Warburg
`Excursion Flora' (Cambridge; excellent key, descriptions, about 20 quid,
no flower pics). This covers all the higher plants (inc ferns, and
grasses), and is the best field flora I've used.

You need a x10 eye glass, and your set! Oh, as pointed out in an earlier
reply, DON'T PICK THE PLANTS! It's illegal (can't remember the act's
name). Take the book to the plant, and not vice versa.

Hope this is useful; I used these two books to id all the plants I ever
came across when botanising in Britain.


Simon Penson
Plant Biology
UC Berkeley
(510) 642 8064

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