paper, 376 pp., $14.95
A companion guide to Flora: A Gardener’s Encyclopedia, this dictionary of common plant names is a useful tool in identifying the botanical nomenclature of more than 20,000 common names used around the world. The system of binomial nomenclature, featuring a genus and species name with some further subdivision in Latin (the universal language of scientists), was first introduced more than 250 years ago by Swedish biologist Carolus Linnaeus, the Father of Taxonomy. His system created order out of a chaotic world of classification. This book underscores the need for such a system: for example, there are two pages of plants commonly called "oaks." Only by using the specific epithet can one truly identify a plant that may have many different common names around the world.
Flora’s Plant Names is a valuable reference tool in the education of a gardener from several standpoints. It is useful for those seeking to identify a plant, either for purchase or for show. Readers may also trace a plant’s origins and discover its cultural needs. Most important, this dictionary can help them improve their communication with other gardeners and plant lovers.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden