Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The presentation of each of the 300 species is included on two pages. The plants are arranged by groups. Within each group they are further arranged alphabetically by genus, and then alphabetically by species within each genus. The front of each page gives the common and scientific names of the plant, following the National List of Plant Species that Occur in Wetlands: Southeast (Region 2) prepared by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 1988. The scientific name consists of two Latin names. The first is called the genus name, the second is the species. After these two Latin names is one or more abbreviation(s) that stand for the name (or names) of the botanist(s) who first gave the plant its correct name. These abbreviated names are referred to as the authority. This is followed by a statement indicating the months of the year that the flower is in bloom. Under the category entitled Field Marks is the combination of characters that distinguishes the species from any others. The remainder of the front side of the page has a black-and-white illustration of the entire plant along with a close-up illustration of one of the parts of the plant.
On the back of each page is one or more colored photograph(s) of the species and a map showing the distribution of the species in the United States. The distribution map was compiled after consultation of all existing floras of the United States. The map gives only a general range of the species. A state which is completely covered by the pattern does not necessarily mean that the plant occurs in every county, although it might be expected in every county.
The remainder of the back page is devoted to a description of the plant, including characteristics of the habitat in which it is found, the growth form, stems, leaves, flowers (sepals, petals, stamens, pistils), fruits, and seeds. Useful or other features of the plant are included under Notes.
To use the guide, one identifies the plant to group, either with the key or from experience and prior knowledge, and then refers to the plant description. If the plant is not encountered in the descriptions, it is obviously not covered by this guide, and the investigator must consult other references.