Gleason's Plants of Michigan: A Field Guide

Gleason's Plants of Michigan: A Field Guide

by Richard K. Rabeler


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780472032464
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 04/11/2007
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 618,698
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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Gleason's PLANTS of Michigan

By Richard K. Rabeler

The University of Michigan Press

Copyright © 2007 University of Michigan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-472-03246-4


Gleason's Plants of Michigan has been designed to be a quick reference for the plant collector or naturalist for identification of the flowering plants and gymnosperms most likely to be found in Michigan. The diagnostic keys are not all-inclusive. Some species of very limited distribution and those known only in cultivation have been omitted, and the numbers of individual species listed for some difficult groups have been limited. For a comprehensive treatment of all flowering plant species reported in Michigan, consult the definitive Michigan Flora (Voss 1972, 1985, 1996). The ferns and the "fern allies" (horsetails, club mosses, etc.) are not discussed here; see Billington (1952) or Lellinger (1985) for information on these plants. References noted in the text are listed in the Bibliography and should be consulted for further information on various groups. For full plant descriptions, consult reference works cited in the Bibliography, such as Gleason and Cronquist (1991) or Fernald (1987), or one of the references cited for a specific group.

How to use this book The keys in this book are designed to be used in the field, thus the characters on which the keys are based will be visible with the naked eye or with a hand lens. The only other tool required is a centimeter rule. A centimeter scale has been provided in the endpapers for your convenience.

The first key, the "Key to Groups" will direct you to one of four keys to the families of flowering plants. These keys make direct reference to the second set of keys, those for the individual families. Begin with this first set of keys if you are uncertain about the likely family to which your plant belongs. If you know the family, starting directly at the family key is most convenient. As you become familiar with some of the more common families, identification will become much more rapid. See the Quick Index, end of the book.

Each family key begins with a description of the characteristics of that family, especially the floral morphology. In some cases, Michigan representatives of a plant family may have only a limited range of the morphological features found in the family worldwide. Family descriptions used here are limited to characteristics of Michigan representatives. Where the family is represented in Michigan by a single species, the description is of that species. Families of plants not found in Michigan are not included.

The understanding of plant family relationships and the grouping of plants in families has advanced significantly since the original The Plants of Michigan by H.A. Gleason was published (1918). The names, arrangement, and circumscription of the families here follow Engler and Prantl as modified by Voss (1972, 1985, 1996). Reviews of concepts regarding plant family systems may be found in Brummitt (1992) and Zomlefer (1994).

Each key consists of a number of couplets, each consisting of two leads, or statements; the pairing of statements makes the key dichotomous. Each lead either ends with a number of a subsequent couplet or a plant name. To use a key, read the first pair of leads and decide which one describes the plant in hand. If that statement ends in a number, go to that couplet and repeat the process. If the statement ends in a plant name, you have completed your mission. Botanical terms used in the keys are discussed in Botanical Terminology, which follows this introduction, and terms are also defined in the Glossary. All measurements follow the metric system. The height of the plant and/or flowering season (adapted from Gleason and Cronquist 1991, in some cases enhanced with additional information from Swink and Wilhelm 1994, Voss 1972 and 1985, and specimens at the University of Michigan herbarium) is given in parentheses for many plants.

Plant names All plants have a Latin name, or what is commonly known as a scientific name. The application of these names is governed by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. The name, or binomial, consists of two Latin words. The first word is the name of the genus to which the plant belongs, e.g., Acer, the genus for maple trees. The second word, or epithet, together with the first word provides a unique name for a species of plant; combining Acer with the epithet saccharum gives the name Acer saccharum (the name of a common Michigan tree, the sugar maple). Another element associated with a scientific name is the author, the name of the person who first described the plant; in our example, it would be Acer saccharum Marshall. Authors for plant names have been omitted in this book. Nomenclature used in this volume follows that in Voss (1972, 1985, 1996) unless otherwise specified in the text. In some cases, alternate scientific names have been included in brackets, with the initials "CQ" serving as reference to Gleason and Cronquist (1991). A few other specialized references to alternate names are also included.

Several of the genera represented in the Michigan flora include many, even dozens, of species. In an attempt to group related species within such large genera, names at the rank of subgenus, section, or tribe are sometimes employed. A few such names are included in the keys, e.g., Polygonum sect. Persicaria, where these "groups" can be easily recognized in the field.

Many plants have one or more common names. Some of these names may already be familiar to you; sugar maple is probably much more familiar to many people than the scientific name Acer saccharum. Usage of common names, while convenient, is not without major pitfalls. In contrast to the specific rules which govern the application of scientific names, there are no such rules for assigning common names to plants. Some are descriptive while others are nothing more than a translation of the scientific name. Some names imply relationships where there is none: for example, Portulaca grandiflora, commonly called a "moss rose", is not a member of the Rosaceae; the weedy purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is a member of the Loosestrife Family (Lythraceae), but the goose-necked loosestrife, Lysimachia clethroides, is a member of the Primrose Family (Primulaceae). Some plants may have ten or more common names, others lack even one. They often vary by region and local usage. As an example, plants which are called "indian paintbrush" in Michigan (species of Castilleja) are not related to the plant with the same common name in upstate New York (Hieracium aurantiacum = orange hawkweed in Michigan). For the most part, common names as used by Voss (1972, 1985, 1996) are used here, or the common name assigned by Gleason in the original edition is retained.

Names of all plants included in this book can be found in the Index which includes both scientific (alternative or otherwise) and common names of families and individual species.

Plant distributions Much information about the nature and distribution of the native or presettlement vegetation (the plants existing in Michigan before European settlement) is available from the extensive information compiled by the U.S. General Land Office Survey between 1816 and 1856. As surveyors platted the territory into 36 mile-square townships, they also mapped natural features, including rivers, lakes, wetlands, and large "witness trees". Comments on soil and vegetation were also noted (Comer et al. 1995). Fortunately for the vegetation record, this survey occurred before the onset of logging. The information compiled by the Land Office Survey has now been transcribed, interpreted into a series of digital maps, and imposed on the "regional landscape ecosystems" described by Albert (1995). The resulting regional descriptions encompass soil, climate, topography, and presettlement or native vegetation types (Comer et al. 1995).

The distribution of many Michigan plants has changed over the last 150 years, with habitat loss from conversion of areas first to agriculture and later to other more intensive uses, massive logging operations in the late 1800's and early 1900's, and competition from introduced plants. Introduced plants are species which now grow in Michigan but are not members of our native flora; they are, for the most part, seldom found in natural communities. Included among our introduced flora are most agricultural weeds, plants that have escaped from cultivation, and those that have arrived accidentally as soil or seed contaminants. The list of introduced plants is always changing as new species arrive and others disappear. Endangered or threatened plants, native species now found only in one or a few areas, are legally protected under Federal and/or Michigan endangered species legislation (Michigan Department of Natural Resources 1992, Chittenden 1996).

Michigan includes several phytogeographical zones, each with distinctive climate, soil, and plant communities. A striking difference in plant communities is seen north and south of the tension zone, which may be imagined as 50 km on either side of a line drawn horizontally across the southern Lower Peninsula between the cities of Saginaw and Muskegon (Medley & Harman, 1987). The line between the NM and SLP regions in Figure 1 approximates this line. North of the tension zone, soil is often a "podzol", with a thin layer of humus over coarse lower horizons with poor water-retention capabilities. South of the tension zone, soils generally have a higher content of organic matter, with a deeper dark top horizon and good water retention.

Information on plant distributions is derived from Voss (1972, 1985, 1996), where complete maps showing the distribution by county of all plant species known in Michigan may be found. The distribution of some plant species, both native and introduced, is limited to certain regions of Michigan (Fig. 1). In these cases, the following abbreviations are used in the keys to indicate these regions:

SLP: Southern Lower Peninsula

LP: Lower Peninsula

UP: Upper Peninsula

NM: Northern portion of the Lower Peninsula, and the Upper Peninsula

WM: Western Michigan, including counties on the Lake Michigan coast

SE: Southeastern portion of the Southern Lower Peninsula

SW: Southwestern portion of the Southern Lower Peninsula

Straits: area adjacent to the Straits of Mackinac

Species of very limited distribution are generally omitted from this book; however, some with a very limited distribution but which may be locally conspicuous have been included. In these cases, the specific location is indicated, e.g., "Pellston" (the location of the University of Michigan Biological Station). Most species known in Michigan only from Isle Royale have been omitted; see Slavick and Janke (1993) for a checklist of the Isle Royale flora. Species that have been collected only one or a few times in the state but not in the last 50 years are likewise omitted.

Plant communities and habitats Many different approaches to terminology for distinctive plant communities have been used (e.g., Comer et al. 1995); defining them is outside the scope of this book. However, the concept is an important one. In recent years the intrinsic value of particular plant communities, such as wetlands, to the natural system as a whole has been more widely recognized. Others, such as prairies, are valued for their aesthetic qualities and the diversity of the plant species they support. In addition, the existence and survival of endangered and threatened plants at a site is probably linked to the survival of the entire plant community. Protection of these special natural areas has emphasized the recognition of native plants and the elimination of introduced or invasive plants. Vegetation analysis, in which plants are ranked for their value in a natural landscape (Herman et al. 1996, Swink & Wilhelm 1994), is becoming a useful tool in making land use policy decisions.

The presettlement forests which once covered the northern Lower Peninsula and eastern Upper Peninsula were chiefly hemlock-white pine-northern hardwood (Braun 1950). Logging has shifted the balance in many areas of this region toward deciduous forests dominated by maples (Elliott 1953). Other dry northern sites have pine forests, or oak-pine forests (Braun 1950). The major forest type in the southern Lower Peninsula is the beech-maple forest (Braun 1950), though highly drained (drier) areas are likely to be occupied by oak-hickory woods (Dodge & Harman 1984).

Two areas in Michigan with particularly distinct plant communities are the sand dunes along the shores of the Great Lakes (especially Lake Michigan and Lake Superior) and the western Upper Peninsula, particularly the shores of Lake Superior, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and Isle Royale. A number of plant species are found in this second area and also in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest (Marquis & Voss, 1981). These "western disjuncts" are in some cases species adapted to mountainous or arctic habitats.

Some general terms for plant community types are used in the keys to aid in identification. Rich woods include the beech-maple or beech-maple-hemlock communities. These are characterized by mesic conditions (abundant moisture, but the soil well-drained), and a rich soil such as loam or clay loam, with a nearly neutral pH. Damp woods are low spots with more moisture in these same communities. Wet thickets are dense, shrubby areas often found along streams or around swamps. Dry woods are oak-hickory, oak-pine, or mixed oak woods; the soil is often a sandy loam with faster drainage and an acidic pH. Dry sandy woods have soils containing more sand, and less organic matter; the moisture supply is very low and the pH is often more acidic. They are characterized by oak-pine or pine stands. Upland habitats may include meadows, fields, or sparse dry woodlands. Swamps are wet, periodically flooded, forested sites while marshes are wet areas which lack trees. Bogs often look like ponds, but are encircled by a floating mat of sphagnum moss; the moss gradually fills in the pond and helps create a habitat favorable for acid-loving plants such as members of the Ericaceae. Fens are calcareous (alkaline) wetlands, often meadow-like and dominated by sedges.

Some very general terms for characteristic habitats are also used in the keys. Wet areas indicates any place where the soil remains saturated or where there is standing water most of the time, such as low spots, marshes or swamps, and stream banks. Moist areas have soil which is noticeably moist to soggy most of the time. Dry areas occur where soil moisture is limited, such as sandy sites. Disturbed areas are where the soil surface has recently been broken, as in cultivated ground or construction sites. Rocky areas contain rock outcrops. Calcareous areas are derived from limestone, so that the pH is relatively alkaline.

Collecting a plant specimen Try to gather fertile (flowering or fruiting) material if at all possible, since sterile specimens can be very difficult to identify. The specimen should be as complete as possible. With a small herbaceous plant, there is usually no problem in collecting the entire plant. With a shrub or tree, it is best to get a small branch with attached leaves and flowers and/or fruits if at all possible. Be sure to note whether it is a tree or shrub and the approximate height, information that cannot be gained from looking at just the specimen that you have collected. If you plan to press and dry your specimens for later study, be aware that while the green of the leaves remains, many floral parts don't retain their color. Making a note of the color of the petals, stamens, and/or fruit when you collect them will save guesswork later. A proper specimen is also labelled with the date and location of collection and any other useful information such as the habitat in which the plant was found.

Ethics of collecting There are several legal and ethical considerations to keep in mind. Plant collecting is essential to the study of plants, but must not endanger the survival of local plant populations. Don't collect more individuals than necessary for your use. Some species which are legally protected in Michigan (see below) occur in large, but very local populations. Respect the rights of property owners by seeking permission to collect on any private property. Be aware that collecting specimens in state and national parks is not permitted. Permission for collecting on any public land should be obtained from the agency which manages it. Many privately held land preserves, such as those owned by the Nature Conservancy, also have restrictions on collecting.


Excerpted from Gleason's PLANTS of Michigan by Richard K. Rabeler Copyright © 2007 by University of Michigan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


Editor's Note....................3
Notes on the Second Printing....................4
Preface: Henry A. Gleason : his Michigan period....................7
Additions and Corrections....................11
Introduction: How to use this book....................13
Terminology used in plant descriptions....................29
List of illustrations....................43
Key to Groups....................45
Group 1: Woody plants....................47
Group 2: Unusual plants....................60
Group 3: Monocots....................66
Group 4: Dicots....................70
Key to the Plants of Michigan (in family order)....................93
Subject index....................355
Index to plant names....................357
Quick Index to Plant Families....................end

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