Wild Flowers of Britain by Roger Phillips

A library for botanists…

Wild Flowers of Britain

by Roger Phillips

“Seven years ago when my son Sam was five I felt that growing up in London he was missing the dirt and damp of the countryside. So, we started a Sunday routine of going to the country, rain or shine, summer or winter, and cooking a picnic lunch over an open fire… I have watched the land change and the plants grow and die through the seasons. I began to wonder and question the identity of plants that I found in the marshy wilderness around the canal… I frequently failed to make a positive identification… I have tried to make the book I needed seven years ago” Roger Phillips

Roger Phillips illustrates his flowers in chronological flowering order, includes both English and botanical names, also a little background is included. See what he is included for this small group

Roger Phillips illustrates his flowers in chronological flowering order, includes both English and botanical names, also a little background detail is included- “this plant is very poisonous… children should be warned against making blow pipes or whistles from the smooth hollow stem”

Photographic guides quite often don’t work. They fail to pick up on crucial identification features or over emphasise others. I don’t think photographic bird guides are particularly effective for that reason. However Roger Phillips is not only extremely skilled with a camera, he also obviously knows his way round picking up and illustrating many salient features of flora.

For true accurate wildflower identification, a good key is required, I have a couple of volumes that include these and will cover them over the coming weeks, but sometimes all you want is to leaf through a book and loudly proclaim “that’s it“! In which case, this is the book to have.

There are also a small number of pocket sized guides produced by Roger Phillips. These focus on a particular habitat and follow his usual photographic format

There are also a small number of pocket sized guides produced by Roger Phillips. These focus on a particular habitat and follow his usual photographic format

I have a few of Roger Phillips’s large photographic guides- Mushrooms, Trees and Grasses, Ferns & Lichens. All are good though none are suitable for work in the field. Their large size and soft covers (other than my ‘Trees’ volume) preclude that, but still, they sit on a top shelf in my ‘natural history’ corner and get pulled out on a regular basis throughout the year.

Book in featured image:

Wild Flowers of Britain, Roger Phillips, Pan Books Ltd, 1977. ISBN 0-330-25183-X

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