17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Why You Shouldn't Buy This Book,
This review is from: American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers (American Horticultural Society) (Hardcover)I wanted to purchase a good gardening encyclopedia, so I took a few out of the library to see which ones might be worth purchasing. This one is not a keeper. Trying to find a specific plant or tree is practically impossible - for instance, you look up "crape myrtle" in the index. It says, "see lagerstroemia." Under the "L" heading, there is no "lagerstroemia." The index, therefore, is only to give you the latin names of a given plant. To find where they are in the book, you refer to a different index. Under "malus" (apple tree) rather than have them all in one place, they are spread throughout the book according to size. The problem with this is, the designations are completely inaccurate. A "Marshall Oyama" apple tree grows upwards of 30 feet - this is not a small tree. The parameters in which a tree grows are highly relative according to geography, position, etc. The back and forth flipping around made this book a non-keeper, in my opinion.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, this was the worst encylopedia I came across; it was annoying, frustrating, and extremely limited both in its variety of species, as well as the amount of information that is given, which is paltry at best. I therefore highly recommend "Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs." This is the one I am going to purchase - it is so thorough, it is almost exhausting to read and the author (Michael Dirr) gives his personal opinions on many of the plants featured which is incredibly useful. He features plants I have never heard of, as well as a multitude of plant varieties that is almost astonishing.
There are so many sub-species of any given tree, shrub, or plant, that it is just not enough to devote one or two sentences to the entire genus. This book would be, in my opinion, a complete waste of money because you would have to supplement it with a great deal of extra reading. A good encyclopedia should stand on its own.