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James Hodgins and Zile Zichmanis.

Toronto, Oxford University Press, c1982.
272pp, cloth, $35.00.
ISBN 0-19-5403 90-8.

Reviewed by Elinor Kelly.

Volume 11 Number 3.
1983 May.

Wildflowers in Ontario number some two thousand. These plants of woods and fields, roadsides and backyards, have an important place in the natural environment as well as aesthetic and scientific interest. Many are threatened with extinction by pollution, acid rain, or the bulldozer. It is the hope of the authors that this beautiful new book will serve as a reminder of the need to protect those plants and habitats that remain.

Zile Zichmanis is an artist presently working as a scientific illustrator with the Royal Ontario Museum. Her drawings of plants have appeared previously in that very valuable Ontario government publication, Ontario Weeds. James Hodgins is a biologist, now a director of the Wildlands League. He grows wildflowers in his own garden as a hobby and contributes on growing the specimens chosen to appear in the book.

The authors have picked 127 wild-flowers for presentation. Each is illustrated by a drawing, usually half size, and by a coloured photograph. The former are excellent, and the latter, beautiful. They have rare success at showing the plant in scale with its habitat. How many times have we seen photographs that, fine as they are, do not show whether the plant is two inches or two feet high?

The flowers appear in alphabetical order by common name, the authority for which is the Peterson Field Guide. There are aliens, escapes, rarities, and native plants. Each is carefully described by common name, family genus, binomial, etymology, habitat, range, longevity, flowering, features, fruit, height, ecology, use, horticulture, similar species, and references. There is a zone chart, glossary, list of names in English, Ojibway, and French, bibliography, indexes of scientific and common names.

Obviously this is not a field guide or a checklist, but it is much more than a picture album with a drawing on one page and a photograph opposite. There are many omissions, of course, no thistle, no tansey, no shinleaf. Some common names are unfamiliar to me: "bullhead lily" for "yellow water-lily," "bluebear lily" for "clintonia." Careful study will teach us amateur botanists any errors we have been making. No one should ever again confuse pussy toes with pearly everlasting.

The scientific content of this well-produced book gives it importance that picture books sometimes lack. A beautiful gift book and a useful one.

Elinor Kelly, Port Hope, ON.
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