Weeds of North America

Weeds of North America


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Weeds of North America by Richard Dickinson, France Royer

“What is a weed,” opined Emerson, “but a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered?” While that may be a worthy notion in theory, these plants of undiscovered virtue cause endless hours of toil for backyard gardeners. Wherever they take root, weeds compete for resources, and most often win. They also wreak havoc on industry—from agriculture to golf courses to civic landscape projects, vast amounts of money are spent to eradicate these virile and versatile invaders. With so much at stake, reliable information on weeds and their characteristics is crucial. Richard Dickinson and France Royer shed light on this complex world with Weeds of North America, the essential reference for all who wish to understand the science of the all-powerful weed.

Encyclopedic in scope, the book is the first to cover North American weeds at every stage of growth. The book is organized by plant family, and more than five hundred species are featured. Each receives a two-page spread with images and text identification keys. Species are arranged within family alphabetically by scientific name, and entries include vital information on seed viability and germination requirements.

Whether you believe, like Donald Culross Peattie, that “a weed is a plant out of place,” or align with Elizabeth Wheeler Wilcox’s “weeds are but unloved flowers,” Dickinson and Royer provide much-needed background on these intrusive organisms. In the battle with weeds, knowledge truly is power. Weeds of North America is the perfect tool for gardeners, as well as anyone working in the business of weed ecology and control.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226076447
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 656
Sales rank: 370,141
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Richard Dickinsonlives in Toronto and has taught plant taxonomy for more than twenty-five years. France Royer is a photographer living in Edmonton, Alberta. Together they are the authors of Wildflowers of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Wildflowers of Calgary and Southern Alberta, Weeds of Canada and the Northern United States, and Plants of Alberta.

Read an Excerpt

Weeds of North America

By Richard Dickinson, France Royer

The University of Chicago Press

Copyright © 2014 France Royer and Richard Dickinson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-226-07658-4


Since the rise of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, humankind has had to deal with unwanted plants competing with its cultivated crops, as well as affecting the health of families and livestock. It has only been in the last 400 years, however, that there has been an explosion in the spread of weeds. This marked increase coincides with colonial expansion and, more recently, an increase in world trade (Canadian Food Inspection Agency Summary Report 2008).

These troublesome plants introduced from other parts of the globe often thrive in their new environment, free of natural pests that keep them in check in their native range. Whether they affect crop yields, species diversity of the natural environment, or human health, weeds have a detrimental effect on the economy. Billions of dollars each year are spent on vegetation management, prevention, and education. Prior to implementing a management strategy, however, one must be able to identify the species, understand the biology, and institute the best control method. This book has been designed to provide assistance with the weed identification process.

This reference guide includes over 600 species from 69 plant families. Detailed descriptions of each species are included for easy recognition at any growth stage. Over 1,200 color photographs complement the informative text, aiding in identification. Closely related or similar species are described and compared using the most distinguishing characteristic between the two. Nontechnical terms have been used whenever possible, making the text easier to understand.

Scientific names used in this guide follow the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (www.itis.gov), a North American database of plant names that conforms with the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

Plant families are listed alphabetically by scientific name. The family description introduces general characteristics of the family, its worldwide distribution, and its well-known members. Within each family, species are listed alphabetically by scientific name. Synonyms appear in the text and index, allowing for easy cross-referencing. A list of regional common names is also included in the text and index.

Species selection for this guide was determined by federal, provincial, and state weed legislation, as well as those listed by various conservation and environmental associations dealing with invasive plants. Weed designation by jurisdiction is provided for each species. These designations are subject to frequent reviews and changes and should only be used as an indication of legislation at the time of printing.

Canada, Mexico, and the United States are members of the North American Plant Protection Agency (NAPPO). This organization ensures that phytosanitary measures are in place to deal with the introduction of invasive plants. In accordance with the Plant Protection Act (2000), the United States federal government designates certain plants as noxious weeds. In Canada, this designation takes place under the Weed Seeds Order (1986). In Mexico, several pieces of legislation deal with noxious plants. Within each country, states, provinces, territories, and municipalities have the power to designate weeds.

Identification keys have been constructed using easily identifiable characters and thumbprint photographs.


Excerpted from Weeds of North America by Richard Dickinson, France Royer. Copyright © 2014 France Royer and Richard Dickinson. Excerpted by permission of The University of Chicago Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations for Provincial and State Names
Plant Structures
Identification of Weed Species
Key to Trees and Shrubs
Key to Vines and Climbing Plants
Key to Herbaceous Land Plants
Key to Aquatic Plants
Key to Grasses and Grasslike Plants
Family and Species Descriptions
Illustration Credits
Index to Common and Scientific Names

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Weeds of North America 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All encompassing. If they don't cover it, don't weed it!