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Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes

Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes

Flowering Rush to Rushes

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Robert H. Mohlenbrock


Hardcover (Other formats: E-book)
360 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, 502 illustrations

The Illustrated Flora of Illinois


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About the Book

The second edition of Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes offers new material, including a preface, seventeen new illustrations of the additional species now known from Illinois, a revised list of illustrations, and an appendix of the additions and changes since 1970 in the identification, classification, and location of the plants included in the first edition. This new edition of the first volume in the multi-volume series of The Illustrated Flora of Illinois—which provides a working reference for the identification and classification of these plant forms in the state—includes flowering rushes, arrowheads, pondweeds, naiads, duckweeds, cattails, bur reeds, spiderworts, and rushes.

In his introduction, Robert H. Mohlenbrock defines terms and procedures used in the identification and classification of this group of flowering plants referred to as monocotyledons—plants that produce upon germination a single cotyledon or seed-leaf and are often identified by their tall, slender, grass-like leaves. He outlines the life histories and morphologies of the representative monocots and illustrates the plants’ habits and frequencies in Illinois.

Geared to the amateur as well as the professional botanist, the volume includes a glossary of definitions and identification keys to classify the plants according to order, family, genus, and species. The identifying characteristics of each descending class are also given in detail. The morphology of each species is outlined along with data on frequency of occurrence, related soil and climate conditions, and history of past collections. Among the 125 illustrations are detailed sketches of the important features of each species and maps indicating the geographical locations of each species in Illinois.


Robert H. Mohlenbrock taught botany at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for thirty-four years, earning the title of Distinguished Professor. After his retirement in 1990, he joined Biotic Consultants as a senior scientist, teaching wetland identification classes in twenty-nine states. He has been named SIU Outstanding Scholar and has received the SIU Alumnus Teacher of the Year Award, the AMOCO Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Meritorious Teacher of the Year Award from the Association of Southeastern Biologists. Since 1984, he has been a monthly columnist for Natural History magazine. Among his 51 books and more than 580 publications are Macmillan’s Field Guide to North American Wildflowers,Field Guide to the U.S. National Forests, and Where Have All the Wildflowers Gone?


Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes is an updated flora by Mohlenbrock that includes many of the monocot families from Illinois. The flora includes information on 16 families including: Butomaceae, Alismaceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Juncaginaceae, Potamogetonaceae, Ruppiaceae, Zannichelliaceae, Najadaceae, Araceae, Lemnaceae, Sparganiaceae, Typhaceae, Xyridaceae, Commelinaceae, Pontederiaceae, and Juncaceae. Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes is a second edition, and is part of a six flora series entitled The Illustrated Flora of Illinois. A second part of the series will be a flora containing the other half of the monocot families.

The author starts out by showing the reader how to use the keys; this allows the reader to determine the family of the plant they are interested in. The keys used for this flora are very straightforward. This flora also includes a glossary, so this book will be usable for novices as well as those with more plant identification experience. The author has provided general descriptions of the order as well as descriptions for all families included under that order (for Illinois). These descriptions include general morphological traits and other notable traits for order, family and genera within the family. Dichotomous keys follow each family description and allow readers to determine genus followed by species within each genus.

Each species contained in the flora includes information on that species' morphological traits, common name, habitat, range, some known collection data and other helpful information. There are 125 black and white line illustrations of various species (108 from the first edition and 17 new illustrations for this edition). These images provide readers with details of the plant habit, leaves, inflorescence and/or fruit. Each species description also presents a distribution map by county of that species within Illinois.

This flora concludes with an explanation of why certain species were excluded from this second addition, and also contains an appendix that discusses revisions from the previous edition (1970). Mohlenbrock has provided readers with a succinct summary of the taxa included in this volume, a glossary, references and an index by plant names, both common and scientific.

Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes by Mohlenbrock is a usable flora that would make a nice addition to the library of any person interested in the identification of Illinois area plants (as well as anyone working with aquatic plants). This flora is a second edition and has been updated over the earlier versions by the addition of new species as well as corrected plant name information. The black and white drawings provided in the text are helpful in showing the major identification traits of the species. The keys are straightforward and the flora does contain a glossary for any unfamiliar terms. The description for each species is thorough and identification hints help the reader conclude that he/she has determined the correct species. Flowering Plants: Flowering Rush to Rushes is another well-written and user-friendly flora from Robert Mohlenbrock.