New Book: Wildflowers and Grasses of Virginia’s Coastal Plain

Virginia native plants, native plant books, native grasses, native wildflowers


Here is a new book you will want to have as Virginia’s spring bursts forth and you are out in the field with “need to know” questions!

Specifically designed to be easy to use,  flowers are grouped  by color and quickly located with color-coordinated tabs at the top of each page. Grasses have their own tan tab.  Each plant has its own page, with an excellent photograph, accompanied by a description of both the plant and its habitat.

A wonderful example of collaborative effort, the book had its beginnings from the efforts of one of the authors, Helen Hamilton, to share her love and knowledge of Virginia’s flowers by writing articles for local newspapers. Dr. Gustavus Hall,  Professor Emeritus, College of William and Mary, lent his hand to ensure botanical accuracy. And the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, the  Society’s third largest chapter, not only sponsored the book, but many of its members also contributed to the collection of photos. In addition, VNPS members also performed these tasks: Dr. Donna Ware, retired Herbarium Curator, College of William and Mary, wrote the Preface; Dr. John Hayden, Botanist, University of Richmond, did the peer review; and Bland Crowder, Editor of Flora of Virginia, did the copy editing. This  is a home-grown book!

You will find it for sale at many of your favorite stores,  you can click here to purchase it right now: Wildflowers and Grasses.

Here is part of the review on Amazon’s site:

…many plants included are native to the Coastal Plain of Virginia, but some are introduced from other areas in the U.S. and from other countries. Included are non-woody plants often seen along roadsides, in meadows, gardens, and lawns. Many are weedy, with small flowers, not usually seen in field guides. Also included are grasses commonly seen in Virginia’s Coastal Plain.

The plants included here occur in most counties of the Coastal Plain of Virginia, and some may be found throughout the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains from Cape Cod to Mexico. Originally the book was conceived to include only those plants native to the Coastal Plain. However, in decades of field work, the authors have observed very conspicuous non-native (introduced) plants displacing natives in many locations. These familiar, introduced plants are in the book, to help users distinguish desirable native plants from unwanted species.

The plants are arranged in the book by flower color (white, yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, violet, green, brown), indicated by a colored rectangle on the upper edge of the page. The grasses and grass-like plants (tan rectangle) are in the last section of the book. Within each color group the plants are arranged alphabetically by families. Photographs on each page show the most prominent feature of each plant, usually the flower.

Text follows the photographs with user-friendly descriptions of the plant’s characteristics, habitat, range and growing conditions, and interesting facts about uses in folk medicine, by the Native Americans, and origins of the plant’s names.

All photographs were contributed by members of local chapters of the Virginia Native Plant Society: Ellis Squires from the Northern Neck Chapter; and from the local John Clayton Chapter, Teta Kain, Seig Kopinitz, Louise Menges, Kathi Mestayer, Phillip Merritt, and Jan Newton; and Felice Bond from the Historic Rivers Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists.