Plant Families: A Guide for Gardeners and Botanists
Most of us lump plants together in one big family, and when pressed can only explain their grouping by what they’re not—not an animal, not a mineral, and so just a plant. In reality, there are hundreds of different plant families, each grouped logically by a unique family history and genealogy. This brings sense and order to the more than a quarter of a million different plant species covering a diverse spectrum that includes soaring sequoias (Cupressaceae), squat prickly pear (Cactaceae), and luxuriant roses (Rosaceae). Plant Families is an easy-to-use, beautifully illustrated guide to the more than one hundred core plant families every horticulturist, gardener, or budding botanist needs to know. It introduces the basics of plant genealogy and teaches readers how to identify and understand the different structures of flowers, trees, herbs, shrubs, and bulbs. It then walks through each family, explaining its origins and range, and describing characteristics such as size, flowers, and seeds. Each family is accompanied by full-color botanical illustrations and diagrams. “Uses For” boxes planted throughout the book provide practical gardening tips related to each family. We have much to gain by learning about the relationships between plant families. By understanding how botanists create these groupings, we can become more apt at spotting the unique characteristics of a plant and identify them faster and more accurately. Understanding plant families also helps us to make sense of—and better appreciate—the enormous biological diversity of the plant kingdom.
University Of Chicago Press 224 pages