Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Field Manual of Michigan Flora released


Today, the long-awaited update to Edward G. Voss's classic Michigan Flora, Field Manual of Michigan Flora by E.G. Voss and A.A. Reznicek, arrived via UPS at my door. Gone are the cloth covers, sleeves, color plates, illustrations, and heavy stock, replaced by a sleek-for-its-size, sharply designed work with larger trim that clocks in at just over 1000 pages. Although the emphasis of this work is updated nomenclature, updated keys, and nearly current range maps, species descriptions still contain important and interesting information on habitats, additional identifying characteristics, nativity, and other pertinent matters. Distribution maps are small but crisp, and the reader is aided by the placement of Michigan county maps on both end papers, which also contain scales in centimeters and millimeters. I look forward to spending more time with the keys and the manual this spring and summer.

Sadly, this book arrived two days after the passing of the first author, Ed Voss. The content herein is a testament to Ed's dedication to the study (and protection) of Michigan's native flora, and it is also a reflection of the quality and breadth of work on Michigan floristics conducted by Tony Reznicek, who took on the significant task of combining and updating the three previous volumes of Michigan Flora. In addition, this manual is another reminder that interest in natural history is alive and well, even if we sometimes lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of people, many of them quiet or obscure, who are enjoying, documenting, photographing, studying, and writing about nature. The wealth of field guides and floristic works completed and in production makes this an exciting time for the professional and avocational botanist. I recommend adding Field Manual of Michigan Flora to your bookshelf, or, better yet, that bin of books in the back of your car, ready for your next roadtrip.

8 comments:

Scott Namestnik said...

Nice review, Brad. I look forward to receiving my copy.

I spent some time in the herbarium at Notre Dame on Monday night, and as it happens, I was looking at numerous specimens that Ed Voss had held in his hands and annotated.

Justin R. Thomas said...

Nice review, indeed. I haven't received my copy but if the online version is any indicator, it will be a great addition any botanical library. And for $25, how could you go wrong?

Bradford Slaughter said...

You could always go wrong...always. And, Scott, I'm not sure the Golden Domers deserve Voss-annotated plant specimens.

Keith said...

A great timber has fallen, but the Edward Voss legacy will continue to enrich our lives and expand our understanding of the natural world.

This book is authored by two of the best of all time, and I consider it a must-have for the Midwest. I'm ordering mine today!

Thanks for the excellent review Brad!

Scott Namestnik said...

Brad... you can hate the football team, but don't hate the herbarium.

And Justin, there is a way to go wrong, and I found it. Apparently there were less expensive shipping options besides the $12 rate. I didn't see them.

Justin R. Thomas said...

I'm all about Media Mail. Unfortunately, I blew the savings on another book.

Keith said...

It's $25 at Amazon and qualifies for free super saver shipping (5 to 8 business days)!

Xylocopa said...

I found your wonderful blog partly by chance today, and want to read as much of it as I can. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, I volunteered to draw some pen-and-ink figures of aquatic plants for Ed Voss. Then in 1967, I was lucky enough to take Aquatic Flowering Plants and Boreal Flora at the UM Biological Station where Ed taught, possibly for the first time for each course. I have wonderful memories of Ed’s leading our field trips in northern Michigan and in Canada, up north to Wawa. I was certainly sorry to read about Ed’s passing, but pleased to know about his new book. Onward, Edd
P.S. I was searching for “Florida weeds Selaginella” on Google Images. I found your photo of Phacelia covillei in the scores of photos that came up. I researched this plant, so I was curious to find the source of the photo. Then I found your blog through the photo. The wonder of the Internet. How can anyone person read much of it now?