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Book review: woody plants of Kentucky and Tennessee: the complete winter guide to their identification and use.

The book is an excellent guide to the identification and uses of 172 genera (142 native and 30 non-native) and 457 species and lesser taxa (381 native and 76 non-native) of woody plants in their winter condition in Kentucky and Tennessee. Although the emphasis is on these two states, the information in the book can be applied to contiguous states containing the same genera and species in winter months. It is a book of valuable information and reference for professional botanists and consultants, college and high school teachers and students, state and federal foresters, farmers, agricultural agents, land planners, landscape architects, and others who are interested in woody plant identification and uses as a hobby.

The descriptive content of the book is preceded by an inside front cover containing a map of Kentucky with demarcated and labelled counties, a usable 20 cm ruler, and basic, linear, metric definitions. Then there are the usual pages for title, copyrights, authors' dedications, financial contributors, acknowledgments, special photographic techniques by B. E. Wofford, table of contents, and table of figures.

Section I. Introduction

Purpose--This part explains the purpose of the book. It is a guide to the identification and uses of the woody plants in Kentucky and Tennessee during winter conditions. Diagnostic keys to the genera and species are presented along with color photographs taken by one of the authors (B. E. Wofford) who describes in some detail how the images were made. Information is provided on those woody plants which can be used for food, medicine, fiber, and weapons. The book is of great value to all botanically-oriented persons.

Coverage--The book covers only woody plants--trees, shrubs, and vines. Described are 172 genera (142 native and 30 non-native), and 457 species and lesser taxa (381 native and 76 non-native) in Kentucky and Tennessee of 15 gymnosperms and 442 angiosperms. For the angiosperms, 10 are monocots and 432 are dicots. Although the book describes genera and species in Kentucky and Tennessee, the information can be applied to the same genera and species in contiguous states.

How to use this book--Information is presented on how to use the book to identify the woody plants. It is important to understand the meaning of the terms used in the keys by studying the Glossary near the end of the book in Appendix 1. Terms are also illustrated in labeled, color photographs in this section in Figures 2 to 8. The authors point out that the human eye has difficulty in seeing microscopic detail. They suggest using a 10x hand lens for observing microscopic features of the plants. Mention is made of which sections contain specific information.

Sources of information--A number of other sources were consulted in the writing of this book. The sources are named, and further information may be obtained by referring to the Literature Cited near the end of the book. These references supply information on county maps, construction of keys, nomenclature, wetland indicators, and uses of woody plants.

Format and abbreviations--This section specifies what information is presented. For each genus, information is given on scientific name, common name, family name, Latin meaning of generic name, habit (tree, shrub, or vine), bark features, twig features (including pith type, bud positions, and types), leaf scar arrangement, bundle scar number, presence or absence of stipule scars, fruit type, and other notes. If leaves are evergreen, then arrangement and leaf features are given, and detailed twig and bud features may be omitted. Included in the generic accounts is information on the uses for food, medicine, fiber, and weapons, and whether or not they are known to be poisonous. For each species, information is given on scientific name, common name, habitat, Kentucky and Tennessee distribution, frequency, area of origin if non-native, rarity status in each state, invasiveness status, wetland status, Latin meaning of specific epithet, and other notes of interest. Included is reference to the plate number(s) that provide images of the species. Distributional abbreviations used in the species accounts are explained/defined including symbols to indicate non-native species, poisonous parts, edible parts, medicinal use, fiber, or weapon use. This part includes a map (Figure 1) of Kentucky and Tennessee with labeled physiographic regions.

Morphological features for woody plants in winter--The authors explain that identification of woody plants in winter months "can be a daunting and frustrating exercise." In view of this, the authors present a broad spectrum of morphological characteristics for the woody plants in 57 color photographs in Figures 2 to 8 followed by written descriptive features for leaves if present, twigs, twig scars, buds, pith armature/corky ridges/climbing adaptations, pubescence, bark, and cones/fruits when present. Separate features are presented for gymnosperms versus angiosperms in relation to vegetative differences, reproductive differences, classification, and rare and non-native species. Section I concludes with a discussion of woody plants used for food, medicine, fiber, and weapons with reference to sections and appendices in the latter part of the book. Included is a paragraph on conservation concerns related to the use of rare or endangered species, and a disclaimer on the human use of woody plants for food and/or medicine.

Section II. Key to keys

This section presents a dichotomous key to Keys A through N with page numbers.

Section III. Keys to genera

This section contains dichotomous Keys A through N leading to genera.

Section IV. Generic and species accounts

This section contains dichotomous keys to genera and species alphabetically beginning with Abies fraseri and concluding with Zanthoxylum americanum. The reviewer is not a plant taxonomist, and thus cannot comment on the completeness and accuracy of the genus and species descriptions. However, the authors are plant taxonomists with many years of taxonomic experience in the fields of Kentucky/Tennessee, and in their respective herbaria. Therefore, there should be a great measure of accuracy in the descriptions. The reviewer can state that the morphological descriptions and uses of the described woody plants are accurate.

Section V. Plates 1 to 630

This section contains the color photographs prepared by B. E. Wofford. Plates 1 to 630 are labeled as to genus and species followed by a Literature Cited, a Glossary of terms listed alphabetically, and four separate listings of the genera (with common name) of those woody plants useful for (1) food, (2) medical needs, (3) cordage, and (4) weapons (bows and arrows). The book concludes with an alphabetical index for Section I, and alphabetical index of scientific names in Sections IV and V. and an alphabetical index of common names in Section IV. The inside back cover contains a map of Tennessee with demarcated and labeled counties.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Division of Biology Teaching and Learning, Knoxville, TN 37996

Jones, Ronald L. and B. Eugene Woffbrd. 2013. Woody Plants of Kentucky and Tennessee: The Complete Winter Guide to Their Identification and Use. The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. 224 pages. $45.00 cloth.
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Author:Caponetti, James D.
Publication:Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2014
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