Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast : A Field Guide

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-04-01
  • Publisher: Cornell Univ Pr
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Characterized by an abundance of pavement, reflected heat, polluted air and contaminated soil, our cities and towns may seem harsh and unwelcoming to vegetation. However, there are a number of plants that manage to grow spontaneously in sidewalk cracks and roadside meridians, flourish along chain-link fences and railroad tracks, line the banks of streams and rivers, and emerge in the midst of landscape plantings and trampled lawns. On their own and free of charge, these plants provide ecological services including temperature reduction, oxygen production, carbon storage, food and habitat for wildlife, pollution mitigation, and erosion control on slopes. Around the world, wild plants help to make urban environments more habitable for people.Peter Del Tredici's lushly illustrated field guide to wild urban plants of the northeastern United States is the first of its kind. While it covers the area bounded by Montreal, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, it is broadly applicable to temperate urban environments across North America. The book covers 222 species that flourish without human assistance or approval. Rather than vilifying such plants as weeds, Del Tredici stresses that it is important to notice, recognize, and appreciate their contribution to the quality of urban life. Indeed their very toughness in the face of heat islands, elevated levels of carbon dioxide and ubiquitous contamination is indicative of the important role they have to play in helping humans adapt to the challenges presented by urbanization, globalization and climate change. The species accounts-158 main entries plus 64 secondary species-feature descriptive information including scientific name and taxonomic authority, common names, botanical family, life form, place of origin, and identification features. Del Tredici focuses especially on their habitat preferences, environmental functions, and cultural significance. Each entry is accompanied by original full-color photographs by the author which show the plants' characteristics and growth forms in their typical habitats. Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast will help readers learn to see these plants-the natural vegetation of the urban environment-with fresh appreciation and understanding.

Author Biography

Peter Del Tredici is Senior Research Scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is author of A Giant Among the Dwarfs. Steward T. A. Pickett is a Plant Ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
Fernsp. 26
Dryopteridaceae (Woodfern Family)p. 26
Dennstaedtiaceae (Brackenfern Family)p. 26
Horsetailsp. 28
Equisetaceae (Horsetail Family)p. 28
Conifersp. 30
Taxaceae (Yew Family)p. 30
Woody Dicotsp. 32
Aceraceae (Maple Family)p. 32
Anacardiaceae (Cashew Family)p. 40
Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)p. 44
Betulaceae (Birch Family)p. 46
Bignoniaceae (Trumpet Creeper Family)p. 52
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)p. 54
Celastraceae (Stafftree Family)p. 58
Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster Family)p. 64
Fabaceae = Leguminosae (Pea Family)p. 66
Fagaceae (Beech Family)p. 72
Moraceae (Mulberry Family)p. 76
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)p. 78
Rosaceae (Rose Family)p. 82
Rutaceae (Rue Family)p. 94
Salicaceae (Willow Family)p. 96
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)p. 102
Simaroubaceae (Quassia Family)p. 104
Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)p. 106
Ulmaceae (Elm Family)p. 108
Vitaceae (Grape Family)p. 112
Herbaceous Dicotsp. 118
Aizoaceae (Carpetweed Family)p. 118
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth Family)p. 120
Apiaceae = Umbelliferae (Carrot Family)p. 122
Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)p. 124
Asteraceae = Compositae (Aster Family)p. 128
Balsaminaceae (Touch-me-not Family)p. 178
Brassicaceae = Cruciferae (Mustard Family)p. 180
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)p. 190
Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)p. 202
Clusiaceae (Mangosteen Family)p. 204
Convolvulaceae (Morning Glory Family)p. 206
Cucurbitaceae (Gourd Family)p. 208
Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)p. 210
Fabaceae = Leguminosae (Pea Family)p. 216
Lamiaceae = Labiatae (Mint Family)p. 230
Lythraceae (Loosestrife Family)p. 238
Malvaceae (Mallow Family)p. 240
Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)p. 242
Oxalidaceae (Woodsorrel Family)p. 244
Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)p. 246
Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed Family)p. 248
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)p. 250
Polygonaceae (Smartweed Family)p. 254
Portulacaceae (Purslane Family)p. 268
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)p. 270
Rosaceae (Rose Family)p. 274
Rubiaceae (Madder Family)p. 278
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)p. 280
Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)p. 286
Cannabaceae (Hemp Family)p. 288
Urticaceae (Nettle Family)p. 290
Violaceae (Violet Family)p. 292
Monocotsp. 294
Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)p. 294
Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)p. 296
Iridaceae (Iris Family)p. 298
Juncaceae (Rush Family)p. 300
Liliaceae (Lily Family)p. 302
Poaceae = Gramineae (Grass Family)p. 306
Typhaceae (Cattail Family)p. 338
Appendicesp. 341
Plants Covered in This Book That Are Included in Dioscorides' De Materia Medicap. 341
European Plants Listed by Josselyn as Growing Spontaneously in New England in the Seventeenth Centuryp. 342
Shade-Tolerance Ratings of the 32 Trees Covered in This Bookp. 343
Species Suitable for a Cosmopolitan Urban Meadowp. 345
Key Characteristics of Important Plant Familiesp. 346
Glossaryp. 349
Bibliographyp. 359
Indexp. 365
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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