Recently released by Texas A&M University Press this reference guide is a comprehensive and detailed look at the rare plants of Texas. While useful for the layman, the book is primarily of interest for botanists and others deeply immersed in the subject matter. As such, the book is highly technical in nature and written in a dry academic tone.

After a brief preface and an acknowledgment section, there is a multi page section on the various natural regions of Texas. Filled with facts and figures and a single solitary map of the state that contains no reference points, this section goes into detail about the land mass and various types of plants typically found in the 11 regions. It is noted here and elsewhere in this book that rare species are still being found today in Texas as much of the state has not been surveyed in the manner required to note and document everything.

Sections on the history of planet conservation as well as a section on the law and terms being used as well as another section on the threats to rare plants which are primarily human related follow the natural regions section.  This is followed by sections on “Management and Restoration of Rare Plants” and “Nomenclature and Species Selection.”  Quickly followed by instructions for and a copy of the official “Wildlife Diversity Reporting Form” issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to report a rare plant, animal or habitat that will be verified before being added to the wildlife diversity database.

This leads readers to the heart of the book “Species Treatments” which begins on page 55. Each plant is depicted in a drawing, a color picture, and located on the country map of Texas. Each plant has listed various facts such as scientific name, common name, family name, endangered status date, where it lives, and a detailed description of the plant, habitat of the plant, and comments and references on the plant.  Listed in alphabetical order each plant is detailed across two pages with many plants depicted in multiple color photographs and ink drawings.

Beginning on page 521 there is a short section on what was excluded from this book and why. That leads to a very detailed glossary of terms and a seventy-nine page reference section. This field guide type book concludes with an extensive index of thirteen pages.

This is a comprehensive book and is a well done reference guide that should be of interest to the professional as well as the general layman interested in the field. Certainly it isn’t of interest for everyone and it was not designed to be as it is highly technical in nature. Therefore, those with a deep interest in the topic will appreciate it the most. For that readership it was designed for, it works well and provides a glimpse of the many rare plants found across the great state of Texas.

Rare Plants Of Texas

By Jackie M. Poole, William R. Carr, Dana M. Price and Jason R. Singhurst.

Texas A&M University Press

December 2007

Flexbound with Flaps (Field Guide Style)

ISBN# 1-58544-557-6

640 Pages


My thanks to the staff of the University of Houston Library System who provided a copy of this title in response to my long standing request through the Interlibrary Loan program.

Kevin R Tipple © 2008

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