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3 Preface and Acknowledgments I vii How to Use This Book I xi A Word about Collecting I xv Oklahoma Wildflower Families I 1 Oklahoma Wildflowers I 17 Glossary I 217 Bibliography I 219 Name Index I 221 Color Index I 229 Contents Preface and Acknowledgments 3 vii This book is for you if you are a newcomer to Oklahoma, a gardener, a Scout or 4-H or Campfire leader, a schoolteacher , or a parent. In it, you will find pictures of Oklahoma wildflowers growing where nature put them, along roadsides, in parks and fields, and in your own backyard. I was a child of ten when my family moved into a house on the edge of Oklahoma City. Already an ardent reader, I was surprised to find that the few books in the library with any pictures at all didn’t show the flowers in my neighborhood . How can you describe a flower to someone when you don’t have a name for it? I drew pictures of flowers, tried dipping them in melted wax (disgusting), and finally just gave up and gave them names of my own. Anyone who has ever named a plant “fairy princess powder puffs” will recognize sensitive briar (Mimosa nuttallii) when she sees it again. Years later, when Doyle McCoy began assembling his roadside guides to Oklahoma plants, I began to get an inkling of the accepted naming system. This system, begun by Carl Linnaeus in the 1800s, provides a structure for understanding the different kinds of plants. Oklahoma’s some 2,500 species of plants are first placed in some 173 families, which are further divided into some 850 genera (the first part of the binomial scientific name). Those 3 viii divisions represent the relatedness of individual species. For example, Oklahoma’s fifteen or so species of sunflowers are all first-named to the genus Helianthus, each then getting a species name such as maximiliani, which securely identifies Maximilian’s sunflower as Helianthus maximiliani. Scientific names are currently undergoing significant revision as DNA research progresses. In this book I have used the most currently accepted names available to the Flora of Oklahoma. Most of the common names come from Taylor and Taylor’s Annotated List (see Bibliography). Some thirty years ago, when we moved to the wild acreage where I now live, I started trying to name every plant I found here. Some were covered by McCoy’s roadside guides, but more were not, so I enrolled in classes at the University of Oklahoma to learn more. By the time I retired, I knew enough to become a volunteer at the University of Oklahoma’s herbarium, where I still enjoy my one day a week of playing botanist. Dr. McCoy has died, and his little roadside guides are out of print and out of date. Thus, this book. I took all the photographs (except those shown on pages 46, 49, and 77) using a Pentax camera equipped with a 1:1 macro lens and slide film. I have shown them all over Oklahoma in the popular slide programs I have taken to garden centers, Oklahoma Native Plant Society meetings, and schools—wherever I could get an audience. Perhaps someone who has this book will become the next volunteer who will bring PowerPoint shows to eager audiences. Botany is a wonderful hobby, and who knows where it will lead you. This book is a selection from the many slide programs I have offered. I wanted everyone to know about the wildflowers . But as I am an amateur without a degree in botany, ...


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