FL Book Report 2007

Florida Book Report 2007

January 21, 2007
The Preamble- Yes, yes, I did in fact carry all of the books below. It came to close to 50 pounds. I brought them along in a carry-on bag as you already know why with my predilection toward stuff and travel. Did I need all these? Well, the sad truth is, not even close. Here’s why, during the week I was teaching, I was too busy to key anything out (okay, maybe 3 plants). And then I went to Key Largo, where my main focus (besides complaining about spending $40 a night at one of most dismal campground) was finding and insuring the identity of Piscidia. And here a number of books were valuable-most notably Tomlinson. And as I was on that Key for 3 days, and did identify a few others, but the Piscidia adventure occupied the lions share of time. And then I did go to the Everglades, and stayed at the Flamingo Campground, which I was sorry I was not at the whole time as it is quite pretty. But Key Largo did allow me to indulge my Piscidia fantasies, and so enough complaining. I was only in the Everglades for 2 days, where I did key out a number of plants (an Aletris was exciting). But I did not have much time there and to make this preamble an amble, during the whole time I was in Florida, I did not have much occasion to use most books and hence these book report kind of sucks. The end.
   Next year the school is moving to Gainesville, so many of the books that stick to Tropical Florida will not be useful, unless I travel down afterwards. On the other hand, a number of these books are for Florida in general and so still useful. I hope I get reinvited.
   Also, please see the Florida Book Report 2006 (FBR06) for a more thorough review of many of the below books, as I did more keying that year.
    In the previous year, I had more opportunity to see wildlife than this year, and so I could not give the bird and reptile book a good work out. In fact, I did not use them.

Books I Used the Most-not in order of use.
1.A Flora of Tropical Florida- Long and Lakela
2.Everglades Wildflowers-Falcon guide-Hammer
3.Florida Keys Wildflowers-Falcon guide-Hammer
4.Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants-Bell and Taylor
5.The Biology of Trees Native to Tropical Florida-Tomlinson
6.The Shrubs and Woody Vines of Florida-Nelson
7.The Trees of Florida-Nelson

1.[Booklet] Checklist of the Vascular Flora of Florida-Ward-Did not use and probably do not need to bring, even though it is quite thin.

2.[Booklet] Guide to the Poisonous and Irritant Plants of Florida-Perkins and Payne-I did not so much as give this booklet a look, but one day I shall, as it may make Florida plant classes a tad more local and interesting.

3.500 Plants of South Florida-Morton-Another book that was senseless to bring, as I did not use it at all. And really, I am not sure of its utility, but it is certainly worth a look, what.

4.A Flora of Tropical Florida- Long and Lakela-This was the key I used most, as it is most specific to Southern Florida. It is a useful book and fairly well done, though many of the scientific names are out-dated. I saw that it was referenced to in the checklist of the Everglades (I have a pdf copy). It is certainly a book I would bring when I am in this region

5.Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States-Dicotyledons- Godfrey and Wooten- I did not use this book at all this trip, which is sad, for it would have been helpful for a number of the plants as I was near water much of the time. It will probably come down with me in the future for its illustrations and keys. I need more keying time on these trips.

6.Birds of Florida-Smithsonian handbooks-Alsop- Did not use this time, see (FBR06)

7.Everglades Wildflowers-Falcon guide-Hammer- As with many books with this series, they really are quite good with good clear color photos, often of the plants (in flower) on comes across. The details are lacking, but that’s why I bring along a flora. Keep on bringin’.

8.Florida Atlas and Gazetteer-While I used this a little less than I expected (so few roads where I was) still, a good thing to have along.

9.Florida Keys Wildflowers-Falcon guide-Hammer-Like the description, and this time I got a chance to roll this one out as I was in the Keys. It had many of the flowers that I saw and then was able to key ‘em out a bit better.

10.Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants-Bell and Taylor-This is still a good choice to suss out the common wildflowers. An update would be handy, but still, it has a lot of the commonly seen roadside flowers. Certainly worth bringing.

11.Florida’s Best Native Landscape Plants-Nelson-I did not use this book at all this time, and I’m not so sure of it’s utility without an index and key. Though, it does cover all of Florida, so it may be worthwhile bringing it along if (if, if) I go to Gainesville. It does have a good illustration and a number of photos of each plant, which is quite handy.

12.Florida’s Fabulous Reptiles and Amphibians-Williams/Carmichael-This book looks like it would be quite helpful in knowing the herps, and while I did skim thru it once or twice, I did not get a chance to use it.

13.Flowering Plants of Florida-Zomlefer. This is a classic Zomlefer book, with excellent black and white illustrations highlighting some of the basic characteristics of the common plant families of Florida. It would be handy to have a book such as this for up here. The only time I used it, was when I was making a list of the plant families for the AFEA class. And while the information is spot-on, I don’t know if I need it, as I don’t get into much depth about any of the families for this class. So, a very good botany book, but perhaps too in-depth for this class

14.Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida-2nd ed.-Wunderlin- Well, I thought that I would be all over this book, but thus was not the case. If I were keying out more plants, I probably would have used it more. Its lack of plant descriptions is a problem, and so I mainly used the Flora of Tropical Florida for it’s descriptions and for covering the area I was in. I would bring along Wunderlin if I came back down here, as it is a more complete flora, and it is a nice small size, though I would rather it was bigger with descriptions. The keys are so so.

15.Palms of South Florida-Stevenson-I’m disappointed that I did not get a chance to use this book, as I feel it would have given me a better handle on how to identify the palms. As it were, I did not use it, but it has a friendly style to it, that I would like to try if I’m down there again and have the chance to look at palms.

16.Swamp Song- Larson-I did not use this book at all, but I hope to plum it if I’m to go down to SoFl again.

17.The Biology of Trees Native to Tropical Florida-Tomlinson-Here is the queen of the tree books of Southern Florida. I feel lucky to have gotten it. I found it at the Strand in NYC just a few weeks before taking off to South Florida. It is a meticulous work, and when I asked someone at a horticultural site what book they use, this was their mainstay, along with the Gil Nelson books. For identifying the Piscidia, it was instrumental and it gave much more detail than any of the other tree books. Plus it has fantastic black and white line illustrations of many of the plants it covers. And with some more interesting plants, such as Rhizophora, it has a few illustrated plates going over the details of its habits. It really is a sweet and scientific book. I did not use it that much, due to all the above excuses, but I was glad to have it along and would continually bring with me if I was within its range. It also has key to families and species.

18.The Everglades Handbook-Lodge-I got to read a small chapter or two while escaping the mosquitoes in my tent in the Everglades. And I found it well-written, interesting and I began to understand the Everglades a lot clearer. It seems a good choice to hunker down and read before going back down there again to get a bigger picture of The Glades.

19.The Ferns of Florida-Nelson- This is the first time I used the Gil Nelson series of books and probably would have used them more, if I did more poking around. I used this one the least as I am still a dunderhead when it comes to ferns. I tried the key only once, unsuccessfully, but I reckon it’s more my fault until I get the hang of keying out ferns. Nice to have all the photos. Bring again, and use it, okay?

20.The Shrubs and Woody Vines of Florida-Nelson- I used this a bunch this trip, perhaps more than any other book, as there were many shrubs and woody vines that captured my attention. The photos are a bit small and not as useful as I would like, perhaps as there is only one smallish photo per plant. Still, it is quite complete and I was quite glad to have it along and would bring it along whenever I was down here, the information is concise and well-done and I especially like his distinguishing marks about each plant. These help decipher them from look-alikes.

21.The Trees of Florida-Nelson-This along with the above Nelson book were looked at a lot, partly due to my interest in the woodier beings. The photos are okay, but again, the information is concise with the useful distinguishing mark feature. It was helpful in me deciphering Piscidia, which I am indebted to. I would carry down here whenever I come down for it is just a plain handy book.

22.Weeds of Southern Turfgrasses-Coop extension-Oh, this dainty little book of lawn weeds. I want to give you a greater chance, really I do. And I did use it a few times for….that’s right, lawn weeds. And there they were. It is still worthwhile to carry when within it’s regions. That is, if I want to know lawn weeds. Which I do.