Famed bryologist Paul Redfern once said that "keys [floras] are written by people that don't need them for people who can't use them". There is a sad truth to this and it is often the mechanism that turns more and more people to field guides. But is this a good thing?
My understanding of field guides is that they are intended for non-professionals (hikers, wildflower enthusiasts, etc.) but I know many professionals that use them as primary references. I fear that this dumbs-down the profession or at the very least gives non-botanist professional scientists a false sense of what it really takes to know a flora.
Anyway, I figured that GYBO has such a mix of professional and nonprofessional botany/ecology people, that it would make for an interesting conversation. Please share your thoughts.