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Kevin Reavis wanted some book titles on Botany. I have many, probably more
than I really need, but I've always liked books. Here are some from my own
sagging bookshelves - I don't necessarily recommend that you go out and buy
these - but you might want to see if your local university library has a
copy that you could browse or borrow (you don't have to be a student to
access a university library - most have special memberships ($$$) for the
general public).

Very few of these (except for the last two) are directly applicable to
aquatic gardening, most are university level textbooks for biology and/or
botany courses or specialized texts on aquatic plants. In most cases, they
are the most recent editions available and, unfortunately, most were
_expensive_ (some were very expensive). Check them out in a library before
you buy any of them.

While I don't (yet) have it, D.J. Mabberley's "The Plant Book, a Portable
Dictionary of the Vascular Plants" might be worth a look as well.

Again, I'm not suggesting that you need to have read (or understand) books
of this nature to enjoy this hobby. But I can tell you that exposing
yourself to some of these books (or others like them) can give you a new
level of understanding and appreciation for your aquarium. Especially if you
have children and want to introduce them to the wonders of nature - nothing
beats an aquarium, and it can lead your mind into some fascinating spaces.

As far as aquatic plants from an aquarium perspective, I only list two here,
but have many others.


1. Biology of Plants, 6th edition by Peter H. Raven, Ray F. Evert and Susan
E. Eichhorn, published in 1999 by W.H. Freeman and Company (ISBN
1-57259-041-6). This is the latest edition of one of the "standard"
university level textbooks. Its very comprehensive, well written and easy to
read (for the most part).

2. Green Plants, Their Origin and Diversity, 2nd edition, by Peter R. Bell
and Alan R. Hemsley, published in 2000 by Cambridge University Press (ISBN
0-521-64673-1). This one is more specialized than Biology of Plants,
focusing more on the diversity found in the plant kingdom, and places living
plants firmly in a historical context with plants known only from fossils.

3. Plant Systematics, a Phyogenetic Approach, 2nd edition. Judd et al. Just
published (2002) by Sinauer Associates. (ISBN 0-87893-403-0). H-E-A-V-Y, in
more ways than one. This fits in well with Biology of Plants, as a "next
step", and you really ought to have read (and understood) something like
Biology of Plants before you crack this one open. Focuses mainly on the
flowering plants and how they are related to one another, using the new
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification as a framework. Of interest to me
is the fact that in many (most, even) of the "family descriptions" in the
book, the name "Dahlgren" is mentioned and referenced MUCH more often than
the name "Cronquist". Makes me much more confident in relying on Cook's
Aquatic Plant Book (Cook used Dahlgren's classification system as the basis
for the arrangement of plants that he covered).

4. The Evolution and Classification of Flowering Plants, 2nd Edition. Arthur
Cronquist. Published in 1988 by the New York Botanical Garden. (ISBN
0-89327-332-5). In North America at least, Cronquist's ideas on how the
flowering plants are related to one another has held sway for over 20 years.
His classification scheme is still used as the framework for many major
Floras (Flora of North America, Flora of Australia) but is widely considered
to be in need of adjustment due to new research (mainly DNA analysis). But
regardless of how "dated" some of Cronquist's material is considered, it is
still a classic and his descriptions are interesting and worth knowing.

5. Flowering Plants of the World. V.H. Heywood (Editor). First published in
1978, reprinted in 1998 by B.T. Batsford Ltd., London. (ISBN 0-7134-7422-X.
Forget the arguments over how plants are classified or arranged in
"schemes", the one used in this book has been supplanted by newer models,
but the basic information about plant families is still solid and very
useful. However, the REAL reason to pick up this book are the
illustrations - if you like botanical illustration, this book is going to
become very well thumbed. Beautiful. Lush even.

6. The Biology of Aquatic Vascular Plants. C.D. Sculthorpe. Published in
1967 by Edward Arnold Publishers, London and reprinted in 1985 by Koeltz
Scientific Books, Germany (who still have copies available). It may be old,
it may be hard to get (it can be ordered online direct from
http://www.koeltz.com/), but this is more directly interesting to someone
interested in aquatic plants than the others listed above. But it DOES
assume that you know something about basic biology and botany. Packed with

7. Wetland Plants, Biology and Ecology. Julie K. Cronk and M. Siobhan
Fennessy. Published in 2001 by Lewis Publishers. (ISBN 1-56670-372-7).
Wetland plants are not necessarily all aquatic, nor useful in an aquarium,
but there is a lot of very up to date information in this book that could be
of interest as background information to an aquatic gardener.

8. Limnology, Lake and River Ecosystems, 3rd edition. Robert G. Wetzel.
Published in 2001 by Academic Press. (ISBN 0-12-744760-1). This book (an
earlier edition) was recommended to me by Diana Walstad, and I had to wait
almost a year for the new edition to be published. Again, a lot of material
here is not directly applicable to growing plants in aquariums, but many of
the processes discussed ARE going on in our tanks, and this isn't someone
winging it or speaking off the top of their head with "maybe's", this is
solid research and the book is widely used as a textbook for university
level courses in Limnology.

9. Aquatic Plant Book, 2nd revised edition. Christopher D.K. Cook. Published
in 1996 by SPB Academic Publishing, The Netherlands. Not a book to turn to
in order to find out how to grow aquatic plants, nor one which lists the
various species contained in specific genera, but it purports to cover EVERY
genus of aquatic plant in the world. Worthwhile to have.

10. Through the Looking Glass. A Field Guide to Aquatic Plants. Published in
1997 by the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership. (ISBN 0-932310-32-X). Many people
enjoy sloshing through brooks, streams and ponds, looking for native aquatic
plants which might be useful in their aquariums. If you live in eastern
North America, this can be an excellent field guide. No photographs, but
lots of good illustrations and very good descriptions.

11. Wetland Plants of Ontario. Newmaster, Harris and Kershaw. Published in
1997 by Lone Pine Publishing, Ontario. (ISBN 1-55105-059-5) You don't HAVE
to live in southern Ontario for this book to be useful - many (most???)
aquatic plants have very wide distribution ranges. From the Introduction -
"Most of the plant species described in this guide grow in wetlands across
eastern North America, and the ranges of many extend west to British
Columbia and Alaska...". Great photos and good descriptions and so far, I
have only found ONE aquatic plant growing local to me that isn't in this
book. I only wish that more of the aquatics in this book grew close to me -
then I could borrow Tom Barr's inner tube and go "tubing" without having to
fly to Florida. ;-)

12. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America. A Revised and
Enlarged Edition of Norman C. Fassett's "A Manual of Aquatic Plants". Two
volumes - Volume One: Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms:
Dicotyledons; Volume Two: Angiosperms: Monocotyledons. Garrett E. Crow and
C. Barre Hellquist. Published in 2000 by the University of Wisconsin Press.
(ISBN 0-299-16330-X and 0-299-16280-X)

[The one local aquatic plant which I couldn't find listed in #11 was listed
in this book. Turns out that it was a very rare species of water lily,
Nymphaeaceae alba f. rosea, a European species which has red flowers rather
than white or pink ones.]

13. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States. Two volumes -
Volume One: Monocotyledons; Volume Two: Dicotyledons. Published in 1979
(vol. 1) and 1981 (vol. 2) by the University of Georgia Press. (ISBN
0-8203-0420-4 and 0-8203-0532-4)

[#12 and #13 are specific (and specialized) reference books down to the
species level covering all of the aquatic plants found in central and
eastern North America, from Florida to Labrador. They are not designed for
"field use", they are way to big, heavy, not to mention expensive. But if
its aquatic, and its native to the eastern half of the continent, it will be
in one of these 4 books.]

14. Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. Diana Walstad. Published in 1999 by
Echinodorus Publishing, NC. (ISBN 0-9673773-0-7). Not a book to buy if you
are into hi-tech, high light, anal retentive aquariums, but definitely
worthwhile if you want to understand what's REALLY going on in your tanks.
Some may criticize her methods but they can rarely back up their bluster
with as much solid research. Walstad is probably the first author to
actually try and relate real scientific research to hobby level freshwater

15. Holger Windelov's Tropica Catalogue - Aquarium Plants, a Complete
Introduction. Text by Jiri Stodola, illustrated by Verner Hancke. Published
in 1987 by T.F.H. Publications. Tropica has a new catalogue, but I still
prefer this older one - if only for the illustrations. They are beautiful
(the same artist did the illustrations for the new Tropica Catalogue). The
text related the plants directly to our use in aquariums and discusses how
different plants can be used together.

James Purchase