National Audubon Society Trees of North America

Knopf. Apr. 2021. 592p. ISBN 9780525655718. $39.95. NAT HIST
The first updated edition of the National Audubon Society’s tree guidebook since 1980 has a completely revised format. No longer split into eastern and western regions, the new guide covers the entirety of North America. Gone is the division of the guide into photos, separate from descriptions; now information about each tree is found alongside photos (of the tree itself and its leaves, bark, flowers, nuts/berries) and range map. The guide is organized by tree family (cypress, elm, beech, willow, palm, etc.) and includes shrubs and invasive species. Each tree description includes flowers, fruit, habitat, range, uses, similar species, and conservation status, with codes ranging from “least concern” through “critically endangered” and “extinct.” The book opens with essays on tree biology topics, a guide to identification, and a discussion of tree conservation; it closes with brief descriptions of each tree family, glossary, and index. The only drawback to the new guide, compared to the slimmer 1980 edition, is that it will no longer fit into a narrow pocket.
VERDICT A must-have reference book for plant enthusiasts and anyone who has ever asked, “What kind of tree is that?”
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