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The Encyclopedia of North American Trees Hardcover – July 6, 2002
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From Library Journal
This new encyclopedia describes all, or nearly all, of the species of trees native to the whole of North America. (Benvie is also coauthor of The Gardener's Library, a series of books for North American gardeners.) A description, accompanied by one or more color photographs, is provided for each of the 278 species that meet the author's criteria for "tree," "species," and "native." Each tree's natural range, habitat, and physical appearance are included in the description, along with its economic and environmental value and other interesting facts. The book is arranged alphabetically by botanical (genus, species) name, with separate entries for major genera preceding their respective species. This reference does not include the botanical detail of field/identification guides such as John Laird Farrar's Trees of the Northern United States and Canada (Iowa State Univ., 1995). Nor does it parade page after page of cultivars, as do gardener/landscaper guides such as The Hillier Gardener's Guide to Trees and Shrubs (LJ 2/15/98) or Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs (LJ 11/15/97). Even so, Benvie's new work makes an attractive, interesting, and relatively inexpensive reference for general readers, students, gardeners, and others who have a particular interest in native species. A glossary, listings of arboretums and botanical gardens, suggestions for further reading, and some Internet site addresses are included. Recommended for high school as well as public and college libraries, owing to its readability and educational value.
-William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Benvie, who was a coauthor for the series The Gardener's Library, published by Key Porter Books, has written a tree encyclopedia for the layperson. The 278 species (the ones that are currently recognized, according to the author) are listed alphabetically by Latin name with the common name given in dark print at the top of the entry as well as on the top of the right-hand page. Each species is described in a page or less, mentioning the tree's natural environment, its tolerance to extreme or adverse conditions, its use or value, and so on. For the most common trees, a box lists key features--form, trunk, bark, leaves, flowers, and fruit. Additional larger boxes provide a detailed history of the species and line drawings of the leaves, buds, and flowers. Color photographs of the trees accompany the text on each page. A tree-hardiness map with a list of species and their resistance to cold, a small glossary, bibliography, and a directory of arboretums and botanical gardens with address, phone number, and URL are also included. The index lists common names, so there are 12 entries beginning eastern (eastern cottonwood, eastern larch, etc.) but not indexed under cottonwood, larch, redbud , and so forth. Because this encyclopedia does not include shrubs, it is less comprehensive than The Hillier Gardener's Guide to Trees and Shrubs (1997) or Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs (1998). North American Trees would be a good choice for small public and academic libraries that do not own the more expensive and comprehensive titles. REVWR
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Top Customer Reviews
Each entry describes where the tree can be found geographically, what the leaves, bark, shape, etecetera are like and what, if any, economic value the tree has as lumber or wildlife food/habitat.
Classifying the trees according to the forest biomes they need and some maps showing these biomes in North America wouldn’t have gone amiss. This would make it easier to use the book to identify which trees could be planted in the reader’s specific area. The book’s plant hardiness zone map isn’t really useful since it deals only with climate when trees often have particular needs regarding soil texture and fertility. And even the hardiness zone map is faulty. Unless something has been changed this map is based on the coldest temperature ever recorded in each zone and not, as this book says, the average temperature recorded in each zone. My part of Florida had an extremely unusual Christmas freeze in 1990 and on this basis was moved to zone 8. But, it’s never been that cold since.