Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research, 18:2 (Fall 2008) 233-34. Copyright © 2008 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Floras are guides for the identification of the plants of a specific region-in this case, the Cornhusker State. A flora is best judged after seasons of using it for field identification, several semesters teaching the identification of plants using its keys and descriptions, or over the years as a close companion faithfully beside your dissecting scope in the herbarium. Alas, I was denied the luxury of decades, and this review was undertaken in the dead of winter, miles south of Nebraska, and out of reach of a herbarium. Even so, it is abundantly clear that in a few years The Flora of Nebraska will be well-worn with dog-eared pages, a frayed cover, and muddy spots staining the pages. This treatment stands out because the keys and descriptions are based on the authors' examination of a vast array of herbarium specimens and forays into the field, rather than relying on the descriptions of others. Check anther color for Chamaecrista fasciculata (p. 290). If the anthers are listed as "yellow," then the author(s) followed an error of transcription made more than four decades ago and replicated in many subsequent floras. If, however, they are described as "purple," as in this Flora, then the author(s) checked the color for themselves!