"Pragmatic flora" technical field guides
Tree (and shrub) floras
Tree guides covering countries or regions, represent a common theme for
tropical guides, including:
- Soepadmo & Wong (eds.) (Sabah and Sarawak: 1995). Far too heavy
for most field trips, but otherwise field-friendly compared with most
floras, and useful for specimens in the herbarium or field camp. Probably
cannot usefully be called a type of field guide though.
- Aubréville (Ivory Coast, 1959). Excellent illustrations, with field-worker
friendly details, but not optimised for fieldwork, with large format,
several volumes, and large font.
- Keay, Onochie & Stanfield (Nigeria: 1960-64). Fewer illustrations
than previous, unusual for the time with a multi-access key at the
back supporting vegetative characters. Well used and liked by botanists
in West Africa. Revised as Keay et al (1989), but revision sadly lost
some of the unique features and rarer species.
- Dale and Greenway (Kenya: 1961). Unfriendly but at one stage indispensable
for fieldwork, with too few pictures and vegetative notes, but some
local names to help. Identification of sterile trees in the field,
even very distinctive ones, involved long hours browsing through many
pages of text. Now replaced by the far friendlier field guide by Beentje
Pragmatic floras to more than trees
- Beentje (Kenya, 1994). More compact than Dale and Greenway’s guide (above) but easier
to use, with useful distribution maps for all species and drawings for genera.
- There are many examples of Pragmatic floras for developed countries – one of our
favourites being Blamey and Grey-Wilson (1989), based on paintings and text
of British Plants, but there are many other excellent examples.
- Hawthorne & Jongkind (Western Africa: 2006) is packed with field-appropriate photos,
drawings and text, and species details are limited to the essentials.