A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

New book on Kentucky and Tennessee woody plants helps identify species in winter months


 
 
 
Throughout our history, woody plants — trees, shrubs and woody vines — have been one of our most common natural resources, providing such basics as food, clothing, housing and medicines. Being able to identify different species is an important skill, and one that is put to the test during the winter months when a lack of leaves and fruit complicate the problem.
 
To address this difficulty, Ronald L. Jones and B. Eugene Wofford, directors of the herbaria at Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Tennessee respectively, have written Woody Plants of Kentucky and Tennessee: The Complete Guide to Their Identification and Use.
 
Jones and Wofford provide a full account of 172 genera (142 native and 30 non-native) and 457 species and lesser taxa (381 native and 76 non-native) in Kentucky and Tennessee.
 
Each genera and species listing includes a physical description; information on habitat, distribution, frequency, and uses; and references to the photographs of that species in the book. Though it focuses on two states, the vast majority of the woody species found in the regions of West Virginia, Western Virginia–North Carolina–South Carolina, Northern Georgia–Alabama–Mississippi, Eastern Missouri–Arkansas, and Southern Indiana–Illinois–Ohio are included in the book.
 
The authors provide step-by-step instructions on how to identify species and provide all the tools a non-expert would need, including a description of plants’ winter morphology and a comprehensive set of keys to aid in the process. Most significantly, 630 color photographs showing close-up details of buds, aerial roots, fruits, seed cones and much more provide an ideal final check on correct identification.
 
“The images will be of tremendous benefit to those seeking to identify plants during the fall, winter and early spring,” said Zack Murrell, associate professor of biology at Appalachian State University. In addition, a comprehensive glossary of terms and indices of both scientific and common names are included.
 

Ronald L. Jones is foundation professor of biological sciences and curator of the herbarium at Eastern Kentucky University. He is the author of Plant Life of Kentucky: An Illustrated Guide to the Vascular Flora.
 
B. Eugene Wofford is research professor and director of the herbarium at the University of Tennessee. He is the author of Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Blue Ridge and coauthor of Guide to the Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines of Tennessee.
 
From University Press of Kentucky


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