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We use a lot of sources for information and identification, from books, from the web, and from personal observation

Identification, Description, and Propagation Books
  1. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas, AE Radford, HE Ahles, CR Bell (1968)
    No pretty pictures, but a very useful taxonomic and descriptive reference with line drawings of the more common species. One of our major assets.

  2. Wildflowers: Northeastern/North-central North America (A Peterson Field Guide), RT Peterson, M McKenny (1998)
    What would we do without the Peterson Field Guides? This is a useful plant identification field guide based on flower colors.

  3. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, L Newcomb, ill. G Morrison (1977)
    A perfect complement to Peterson's Field Guide. This is a field guide based on leaf arrangements and features so plants can be identified when not in flower.

  4. Wildflowers of the Southeastern United States, WH Duncan, LE Foote (1975)
    Representative plants arranged by family with excellent descriptions. Not intended as a field guide, but this is still one of our most useful plant ID books.

  5. Wildflowers of the Eastern United States, WH Duncan, MB Duncan (1999)
    Similar to Duncan and Foote - nicer pictures though!

  6. Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Wildlife Uses, JH Miller, KV Miller (1999)
    Another abridged but extremely useful guide. Excellent pictures, lots of information on non-arthropod wildlife that rely on particular species.

  7. Seaside Plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, WH Duncan, MB Duncan (1987)
    Very neat guide to plants that may not be found in other guides. Great beach reading!

  8. Guide to the Plants of Granite Outcrops, WH Murdy, MEB Carter (2000)
    A small book with great pictures and descriptions, a shame it it does not cover more plants.

  9. Armitage's Native Plants for North American Gardens, AM Armitage (2006)
    Broad definition of Native, and deals only with civilized plants, but a great source for how and where to grow many of the plants that we sell and a wishlist of those we have yet to discover.

  10. Vascular Plant Taxonomy, 4th Edition, DR Walters, DJ Kyle (1996)
    More botanically oriented descriptions of representative members of nearly all the vascular plant families. Not an identification book per se, but a treatment of the features that unite species and genera within families. A good botanical reference but their taxonomic relationships are not up to date.

  11. A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico (A Peterson Field Guide), DJ Borror, RE White (1973)
    A very complete guide, more useful than the Audubon Insect Guide IMO. Excellent black and white drawings - some grade it down for its lack of color but color is not a particular useful taxonomic feature of most insects. The Audubon Guide, which does have color photos, is a nice complement to this book.

  12. Butterflies and Moths (A Golden Guide), RT Mitchell, HS Zim (2002)
    A little bitty book but chock full of colored illustrations by A Durenceau. No scientific names or taxonomy in this book, which may or may not be a problem, but excellent descriptions and a very useful field guide.

Favorite Web Sources for Plants
  1. USDA Plants National Database
    One of the first places I go to after identifying a plant or in search of basic information or photographs.

  2. Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, and Surrounding Areas by Alan S. Weakley (2005, 2006).
    I just hope it will be finished before I die. Priceless. Even without any Figures. The primary source for this company. The source for most of the authorities in the scientific names, correlation of the taxa of Radford et al. with those recognized today, and for nativity and (usually with attribution) many other interesting facts.

  3. Flora of North America (1993+)
    Not all families are covered yet, but those that are have keys that should identify any native and most escaped introductions found anywhere in North America. Most taxa have line drawings. A fantastic resource with periodic additions of more families. Not apparently revised, however, from the original material, so some of it may already be out of date.

  4. The Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Page
    I ran across this site and highly recommend it for a wide variety of excellent writing on birds, insects, invasive plants, backyard native landscaping, and a lot more.

  5. Wildflowers of the Southern Appalachian Mountains
    Excellent image(s) of a wide range of taxa, all accurately identified.

  6. Missouri List of Species
    A personal effort by Dan Tenaglia, who continues to add excellent photos of the parts of Missouri plants, even though he is now in Alabama. An excellent source for checking your identification of a plant. He rarely goes to variety, however.

  7. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
    Often lots of images of a species, but rarely of varieties. Lists of synonyms longer than you want to know about.

  8. University of Tennessee Vascular Plant Herbarium
    Images of voucher specimens in their collection. Often makes or breaks an ID.

  9. The Georgia Native Plants Society
    From our own state of Georgia. Plant rescues, a good discussion board, and a lot more.

  10. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources List of Plants of Special Concern in 2003 .pdf and 2004 .html
    Includes higher level subjects and, in a comprehensive report on both animals and plants, a page with links to descriptions and more information for some of the 660 taxa (unfortunately) on their lists. Information and images may be submitted for inclusion in the database.

  11. Flora of the Oconee National Forest
    A useful plant list if you live in the area, and some history and features of the area.

Web Sources for Butterflies and Moths
  1. Butterflies of Georgia
    The USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center list of Georgia butterflies. Lists, taxonomically arranged, with linked photos and detailed descriptions. Extremely useful.

  2. Moths of Georgia
    The USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center list of Georgia butterflies. Lists, taxonomically arranged, with linked photos and detailed descriptions. Extremely useful.

  3. Larval Hostplant List for Butterflies of the Washington, DC Area
    A useful list of butterflies and the plants their babies eat, prepared by Mark Etheridge.

  4. Insect Visitors of Prairie Wildflowers in Illinois
    John Hilty has prepared a database of not just butterflies but also bees and wasps.

  5. Georgia Moths and Butterflies
    James Adams has put together a good listing of Lepidoptera in our area, along with useful links and taxonomic definitions.
  6. Caterpillar Host Plants Database
    A useful searchable worldwide database cross indexing plants and caterpillars. Put together by the Department of Entomology at the National History Museum in London, England.