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Botany in a Day
      The Patterns Method of Plant Identification

 

Parsley Family Slideshow: Notice the pattern of similarity among these different species of the same family. (If the slideshow doesn't appear then try a newer browser.)

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      "Many people are familiar with the square stems and opposite leaves of the plants in the Mint Family. I like to start my classes with a discussion of the mints because this pattern is so well known.

      "What people don't realize is that similar patterns exist for other families of plants as well. You only need to learn about 100 broad patterns to recognize something about virtually every plant from coast to coast across the northern latitudes.

      "In a two hour plant walk we typically start with the Mint Family, then progress through the Mustard, Pea, Parsley, Borage, Lily, and Aster Families, so that every student can easily recognize these common families representing several thousand species.

      I've had people tell me they learned more in that two hour walk than in an entire semester of botany in college."

--Thomas J. Elpel, Author
Botany in a Day


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Dear Tom,

      My husband brought me a copy of Botany in a Day and I wish I'd had it when I started my love affair with wild plants! (Of course, you weren't born yet...) This is THE best-laid-out teaching guide to plants I have ever seen, and my library of botanical texts is in the100's! I plan to use it as a textbook for serious students of botany.

      I wish we had something equivalent for Missouri, although your estimate of 75% species occurrence of western species in Missouri is quite valid. We are quite the ecosystem-crossroads here! Steyermark's Flora of Missouri is wonderful but enormous and unwieldy, and our Dept. of Conservation and Dept. of Natural Resources folks have good general field guides for beginners. But your book is outstanding! Keep up the excellent work!

Most sincerely,
Laurie Lovell, aka Wild Plant Woman

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