|Iowa State University|
Updated October 11, 2005 -
USEFUL PLANT IDENTIFICATION BOOKS
Weed identification is a constant challenge for many of us. The best first step to plant ID is to have the appropriate reference materials on hand. Here are those that we find of most help in identifying weed samples.
BOOKS FOR IDENTIFICATION OF MATURE WEEDS
Weeds of the North Central States. 303 pages with black and white line drawings of mature plants and key features of 230 species. Complete key based on flower color. Available through any County Extension Office or ISU Extension Distribution. $19.50. The pages of this book are now available online: http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~vista/html_pubs/WEEDS/list.html
A Field Guide to Wildflowers. 420 pages arranged by flower color. Each chapter with some drawings in color. Available in the Nature section of most bookstores. Paperback. Approximately $15.
Weeds of the Great Plains. Formally known as Weeds of Nebraska and the Greate Plains, this is the standard ID reference for most people in the western Corn Belt. Excellent color photos and black and white line drawings of 265 species (and descriptions of an additional 125 species) on nearly 600 pages in a hardbound book. Available from the Nebraska Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, P.O. Box 94756, Lincoln, NE 69509. $25.00 (includes shipping), or drive to Lincoln and pick it up for $22.50.
Weeds of the Northeast. A new weed identification from Cornell University Press. This is an excellent identification resource that contains usefull tables of similar plant species, fold-out identification keys, and notations of unusual identification characteristics. All this in addition to 416 pages of descriptions of 299 common weed species. While focusing on areas bounded by Canada, Virginia, and west to Wisconsin, this is an excellent resource for many plants found in the central to western corn belt. Available from Cornell University Press, P.O. Box 6525, Ithaca, NY 14851-6525 or by calling 607-277-2211. Prices are hardcover for $60 and softcover for $29.95. http://www.hort.cornell.edu/extension/weeds/weedne.html
Ontario Weeds. 1992. Contains excellent black and white line drawings of 315 species with 28 pages of color plates, each with six pictures in excellent detail. The color photos are grouped so that similar species are on the same page to facilitate easy comparisons of those that look alike. Available from Publications Ontario, 50 Grosvenor St., Toronto, Ontario M7A 1N8, Canada. Phone number is 1-800-668-9938. Fax number is 416-326-8315. The current price is $15.00 plus shipping and handling. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Order Publication No. 505. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub505/p505order.htm
Weeds of the West. A new book from the Western Weed Science Society contains excellent color photographs of nearly 300 species of weeds. Each species is presented with three color pictures, and an easy to read narrative gives the descriptions, habitats and characteristics of each weed. The title is "Weeds of the West" and thus it is no surprise that less than half of the weeds are common in Iowa. Nevertheless, for $22.50 this 650 page book is a bargain and it will make a nice addition to your weed ID reference library. Orders can be sent: U. W. Coop Extension Service, Bulletin Room Univ. of Wyoming, PO Box 3313, Laramie, WY 82071-3313. http://www.wsweedscience.org/Education/Weeds%20of%20West%20Order.pdf
Interactive Encyclopedia of Weeds of North America. 1995. Contains excellent color photos and descriptions of 447 weed and crop species, tutorials, help screens, and other features. Cost is $59.95 plus $5 shipping. Requires Windows 98 2nd ed/Me/2000 + SP3*, or Windows XP (SP1 and SP2)**. Mininum hardware requirements are a 500 mhz processor (1 Ghz or faster recommended), 128 MB of RAM (256 MB or more recommended), DVD-ROM drive, sound card, and 1024 x 768 XGA resolution at 65,000 (16-bit) colors (16 million, 24/32-bit colors recommended). The program will run from the DVD drive, or it can be installed on your hard drive and require 2.3 Gb of free space. Available from the North Central Weed Science Society, 1508 West University Avenue, Champaign, IL 61821. http://www.ncwss.org/ An online demonstration can be found here.
WEED SEEDLING IDENTIFICATION
Fewer guides are available for weed seedling identification, even though the seedling stage requires accurate identification for selection of proper herbicides or control methods.
Common Weed Seedlings of the North Central States. This is a nice 21 page bulletin that includes 17 grasses, 1 sedge, and 36 broadleaf weeds. It has a simple key for the grasses and a brief description of each weed. Each weed has a sharp color photograph of the seedling plus two smaller photographs of key features. Order bulletin NCR-607 for $2 per copy (includes postage) from MSU Bulletin Office, Room 10B Agriculture Hall, East Lansing, MI, 48824-1039, (517) 355-0240. Orders for less than $100 must be prepaid.
WEED SEED IDENTIFICATION
Illustrated Taxonomy Manual of Weed Seeds. This book is one of the best available for weed seed identification. It contains species in 40 plant families common throughout the Midwest. The illustrations are excellent color photographs of seeds magnified two to six times and are accompanied by a detailed and easy-to-use taxonomic key. It is authored by Prof. Emeritus Richard Delorit of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Anyone doing weed seed bank work, those participating in crop and weed science contests, instructors of weed science courses, personnel in certified seed laboratories, extension agents and specialists who identify weeds, and anyone else with an interest in weed seed identification should have one of these unique books. This book is available from the North Central Weed Science Society, 1508 W. University Ave., Champaign, IL 61821-3133. Single copies are $20 (includes shipping).
Weed Seeds of the Great Plains. An excellent reference with 290 species, many common to Wisconsin. The first section, has a list of 22 general characteristics seeds may have. Once you have determined which group a seed belongs to, the subgroup section narrows the choices down to 3 to 10 species. From there, you go to the plant family for a detailed, species by species description of each entry. The final section has superb color pictures of the seeds for each species. Seeds are magnified 2 to 10 times and show great detail. An illustrated glossary at the end of the book gives a definition of all possible seed shapes and shows an outline and cross-sectional view of each one. The book is available from University Press of Kansas, 2501 West 15th St., Lawrence, KS 66049-3904 (ph 913-864-4154). Single copies are $25, plus shipping/handling ($3.00 first book by mail/$3.50 by UPS, $.50 for each additional book).
POISONOUS PLANT REFERENCE BOOKS
People are frequently concerned about possible effects of plants on animal health. In recent years, horses seem to be of particular concern in this regard. Here are a couple of useful references on poisonous plants that you may find helpful. Contact the publishers for current prices.
Poisonous Plants of the Central US. H. A. Stephens. 1980. It contains 165 pages and includes black and white photos of several aspects (leaves, seeds, whole plants, etc.,) of many poisonous species. Order from University Press of Kansas, 2501 W. 15th St. Lawrence, KS 66049. Cost is $12.95 plus shipping/handling ($3.00 by mail for the first book or $3.50 by UPS, $.50 for each additional book).
Poisonous Plants of Pennsylvania. R. J. Hill and D. Folland. 1986. It has 175 pages and covers more than 100 species with information on plant identification (including black and white line drawings), plant characteristics, poisonous parts and principles, symptoms of poisoning, and treatment. Order from State Bookstore, 1825 Stanley Dr., Harrisburg, PA 17103. Prepayment is required for all orders. Cost is $6.35 per copy. Add 10% to subtotal if it is to be insured.
Pasture Plants Toxic to Livestock in Michigan. This 8 page publication is general in nature and gives a description of the plant, the dangerous times of the year, the habitat and distribution, the animals affected and the toxic principles and effects for 23 weeds. These species could also be found in Wisconsin. It also has a table listing crop plants that can possibly be poisonous. Extension bulletin E-1725 available from Bulletin Office, 10-B Agriculture Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1039. Cost is $.40 per copy (includes postage). Must be prepaid if under $100.
Plants Poisonous to Livestock. A 14 page bulletin is similar to the one above and is available from the Univ. of Minn., Coop. Exten. Ser., Publications Office, St. Paul, MN 55108. Ask for bulletin AG-FO-5655-D. Phone (612) 625-8173.
Prepared by Bob Hartzler, extension weed management specialist, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University
more information contact:
ISU Extension Agronomy
2104 Agronomy Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1010
Voice: (515) 294-1923
Fax: (515) 294-9985
or comments here.
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