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Common Weeds of the United States Paperback – June 1, 1971

4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 463 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised ed. edition (June 1, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486205045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486205045
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Stine on June 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
The black ink line drawings by Regina O'Hughes, prepared from herbarium specimens, are exquisite in detail and scientific accuracy and are works of art, besides. The nearly 500 pages, drawings on right hand page (9 inches by nearly 7 inches), text and distribution map on left hand page, make this a comprehensive, yet easy to understand and use, reference book. First published in 1970 by the United States Department of Agriculture, this Dover republication book is a tremendous value for the money and its contents are as timely today as they were 30 years ago. These are the plants that Peterson Field Guides ignored. The book contains an extensive bibliography for those who want to further their study of these amazing plants. This book is definitely worth 5 stars!
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This book has some common weeds. Most of my books are for identification of grasses, trees, wetland plants, and flowers. Sometimes the weeds don't fall into those categories and I've found them in this book rather than some of the others. It's an older book, so some of the names might have changed, but with online sources and/or a checklist like the Vascular Plants of Texas the older names don't hurt.
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For years, I just pulled them. Then I got curious -- what are these critters? How do they propagate? So, I ordered two booksWeeds of the Northeast (Comstock books) as well as "Common Weeds of the United States". Two sources are better than one -- always! I bring home my specimens from the garden and try to sort out what my garden -- not me! -- is growing.
Sometimes, the color photos in "Weeds of the Northeast" show me exactly what I have. With other invaders, I have found the answer in "Comon Weeds". The black and white drawings sometimes capture what a human observes better than a photo.
Plants are as different as people, and somtimes a human (not a camera) deciding what makes this plant itself is better captured in pen and ink and mind.
And, perhaps, most important -- what a treasure of a book to just browse!
While this book is old and may not be helpful to a commercial farmer who wants to just "kill 'em". It is a wonderful source for a non-biologist who wants to understand "Who grows here -- and why".
I think, because of this book, I have become a fan of weeds! I still pull them and put their bodies in the compost pile, but now I name them and -- in part -- understand them.
A great book -- imagine this -- human knows the weed, captures what her mind knows of the weed in pen on white paper -- no single specimen may have ever looked like this -- and you look at the pen drawing and say "Yes!" this is it!
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This book is great for beginners. I had an agronomy course my sophmore yr of college in Oklahoma. We had to collect a minimum of 50 plants, from a list of 85. I used this books and Weeds of the West Weeds of the West to get the job done. Common Weeeds of the US is black and white sketches of the plant, where Weeds of the West are color photos. Depending one the particular characteristic of a plant, one type of image is more desirable than the other. It's hard to capture it all w/ a camera or sketch. I live in New England now, but find a lot of the same plants here. 10 years and 40 books later, these two books are still my favorites.
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Format: Paperback
I have had this book for decades. The black and white illustrations make identification easy. The information is geared more to agricultural conditions than the backyard but being as farms and backyards have the same weeds that is not a drawback. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up secondhand to add to my collection of similar volumes. Mostly I use Weeds of the Northeast (Comstock books) and also National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers--E: Eastern Region - Revised Edition, but quite a few others as well, some out of print. This one is so outdated that it's basically useless.

The drawings are detailed, yes, and there is one for almost every plant. Very nice. There is no listing at all for Heracleum / Giant Hogweed, which has become a health hazard in some areas. Poison ivy and poison oak are listed as completely separate species with no indication of the range of appearance -- and no mention of the "Toxicodendron" taxonomy now preferred. (Regarding poison ivy, I very much like this book: The Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Book: A Short Natural History and Cautionary Account.) The lack of attention to detail in getting the names right is appalling. I must admit that the listing for "hemp" (Cannabis sativa) is pretty cute. I would like to be able to field ID hemp dogbane, which we do have in my area, but I can't yet, and the entry in this book isn't any help either. I suspect that for some plants nothing replaces a living person pointing out that first example.

The book has a copyright date of 1970 but really feels more like a relic of the 1950s. I am writing this in 2010.
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