Florida Book Report 2005

Florida Book Report

January 2-12, 2005

I used these books while teaching at the Florida 5 element Acupuncture Academy, located in Hallandale Beach.
I was in the Everglades, mostly around the Big Cypress Park in the vicinity of Everglades City on January 3 and a half-day on the 4th. I was then at Hallandale Beach, a very built up area for the rest of the time. I used all of these books sparingly, as I had little time to use them. This is a not very well researched book report, as I do not have much real time with any of the books in the field. I did look at some plants at the Ann Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood. This where most of my photos that are not Everglades were taken.
Update- When I arrived home, I used the photos I had taken, plus the Flora of Tropical Florida and a few websites and I was able to key a few plants to species and at least genera.
The primary website was; Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. I also used Google images, which were quite helpful and brought me to other websites as well.

The books I brought along
1.Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants- Bell and Taylor- For a non-technical, one-photo-per-plant-often-with-a-black-background kind of book, this was my favorite, largely due to having the plants in order by family (though I didn’t figure out how the families were ordered). The information was short, limited but somehow they got it righter than others. And so, while wandering around, when finding a plant, I could rummage through the family sections and sometimes find at least the genus I was looking for.
Rating- bring again.

2.Swamp Song- A Natural History of Florida’s Swamps- Larson- This is not a field guide, but a natural history. I only read a little, but the writing seemed good.
Rating- read some before heading south.

3.500 Plants of South Florida- Morton. Didn’t use it

4.Forest Trees of Florida- Florida Forest Service. Didn’t use it

5.Palms of South Florida- Stevenson- Didn’t use it.

6.Florida’s Best Native Landscape Plants- Nelson

A big disadvantage of this otherwise usable book is the lack of any index. And the table of contents apes the main body, which is a useful format, being the plants, are in alphabetical order by genus. But if you do not know the genera, not so good. The main body contains a pretty good color illustration, plus generally 3 photos of each plant usually with close-ups and habit. These were quite useful, as long as I could find the plant in the book. The descriptions were pretty good as well. One way I found plants, was by finding a plant and looked thru the section at the bottom that lists companion plants, for a plant I did not know. This helped a few times.
Rating- bring again

7.Weeds of Southern Turfgrass- Coop Extension- U. of Athens, GA. While I did not use this book often, the few times I was looking at weeds it was helpful. Its small size is also convenient.
Rating- bring again

8.Wildflowers- Parker. The photos in this book are pretty old school and not too useful. Also my copy looked as if it fell in a bathtub, making it that less useable.
Rating- not that necessary, even without bathtub look.

9.A Flora of Tropical Florida- Long and Lakela. 962 pages. Interestingly, I used this well-made book more when I was home, keying out plants from photos. The keys worked nicely and though I didn’t have much chance to use it in the field, I would consider it a primary book if I went back. The occasional black and white illustrations are well done. Another interesting side-note; when I got back home and was trying to key out plants, I called up a few phone numbers I got off the internet to try to determine if the Nymphaeas I saw were native or not. I eventually reached Ken (sp.?) who had worked on this book as an undergraduate. He went on to say that this book had many omissions due to being rushed into print. Thanks Ken.
Rating- definitely bring again

10.Aquatic and Wetland Plants of the Southeastern United States- Dicotyledons- Godfrey and Wooten- 933 pages. This large, well-made book was useful. It is not specific to Florida and so many of the plants that are covered do not grow in peninsular Florida, making it a large book to lug around. Some of the black and white illustrations are outstanding, and so if your plant matches one of these, you’re in luck. The keys seem useable though I didn’t use them much. The plant descriptions are done well.
Rating- bring again (with a pack mule)

Books to bring next time
Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants- Wunderlin 2004