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Recomendations for field guides

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#1 Guest_smilingfrog_*

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 09:58 PM

With Christmas coming up and family members asking for gift ideas, I thought a good wetland plant field guide would be nice. In summer, I volunteer with a wetland monitoring group in which we identify plants. They provide us with a guide that does provide good information about what it covers, but there is a lot that it misses. The wetlands we monitor are in Minnesota specifically in the twin cities area, so I would want a book that encompasses that area, I also spend a lot of time in northern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa, so something that included those areas as well would be great. I did a short internet search but most of what came up were guides giving suggestions of native plantings for lakeshore owners. I will continue with the internet search but thought I would check here to see if anyone had any suggestions for a good field guide. It didn't look like there was a Peterson guide to wetland plants, but something along those lines is kind of what I had in mind.
Thanks for any ideas.

#2 Guest_nativeplanter_*

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 11:08 AM

Unfortunately, most guides for beginners (like many of the people you volunteer with) only have common species. This is because identifying many of the others requires looking at tiny parts of flowers/seeds and the use of technical morphological language. That said, my answer from a previous post pretty much says what I'd say here: http://forum.nanfa.o...quarium-plants/

I'm best at southeast and, to a lesser extent, northeast plants. Hopefully someone from your area can chime in with more.

#3 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 11:33 AM

I prefer things that are free, so my first action is to go online and look on the Department of Natural Resources page at their species list. Usually they've got a list of some of the species you can find and some okay pictures, which I then supplement with a google image search. Here's a link to your Minnesota DNR plant species list: http://www.dnr.state...atic/index.html
If there's one thing DNRs generally do a good job at, it's proving you with a list of what is threatened or endangered. Your Minnesota DNR has a list of 256 vascular plants of special concern. That's pretty impressive. It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with these so that you don't accidentally squish any or take them home with you when out collecting: http://www.dnr.state...=doFilterSearch

Then I go look for third party guides, which are usually made either by individuals who are experts in the field or by agencies concerned with the conservation of the thing you're looking for but who aren't part of the government.
So there's this guide: http://www.pelicanla..._PlantGuide.pdf
and this one: http://www.npwrc.usg...plant/index.htm
and this one: http://www.mn.nrcs.u...tid/plants.html

My personal favorite is that third one, the Natural Resources Conservation Service. You could print out all those individual PDFs and have a pretty sweet collecting guide to take with you into the field.

Kind of surprising, wikipedia is also trying to become a guide for the plants found in Minnesota: http://en.wikipedia...._aquatic_plants Neat. I bet that page gets expanded and better in the future, but for now the other guides are a lot better. But that's a website to keep in mind as in the future I imagine it will have more information in it.

And lastly, we come to the things that cost money. Some people say that you get what you pay for, so if the information on the DRN's website, other people's guides, and the wikipedia page wasn't enough, you could buy the book
"A Field Guide to Identification of Minnesota Aquatic Plants" by Mary Blickenderfer, Ph.D.
"Wetland Plants of Minnesota: A Complete Guide to the Aquatic and Wetland Plants of the North Star State" by Steve Chadde
"Wetland plants and plant communities of Minnesota & Wisconsin" by Steve D. Eggers

Edited by EricaWieser, 04 December 2011 - 11:38 AM.

#4 Guest_Newt_*

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 01:58 PM

In the thread Nativeplanter linked to, she mentions Crow and Hellquist's updated and expanded two-volume version of Fassett's manual. The original Fassett (which does in fact have drawings, at least the edition I have) is compact and easy to use, and covers most of what you'll encounter. You might be able to find an old copy floating around, or get a new one from University of Wisconsin Press.

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