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Woody Plants of Utah

Woody Plants of Utah: A Field Guide with Identification Keys to Native and Naturalized Trees, Shrubs, Cacti, and Vines

Renée Van Buren
Janet G. Cooper
Leila M. Shultz
Kimball T. Harper
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 506
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  • Book Info
    Woody Plants of Utah
    Book Description:

    A comprehensive guide that includes a vast range of species and plant communities and employs thorough, original keys. Based primarily on vegetative characteristics, the keys don't require that flowers or other reproductive features be present, like many plant guides. And this guide's attention to woody plants as a whole allows one to identify a much greater variety of plants. That especially suits an arid region such as Utah with less diverse native trees. Woody plants are those that have stems that persist above ground even through seasons that don't favor growth, due to low precipitation or temperatures. Woody Plants of Utah employs dichotomous identification keys that are comparable to a game of twenty questions. They work through a process of elimination by choosing sequential alternatives. Detailed, illustrated plant descriptions complement the keys and provide additional botanical and environmental information in relation to a useful introductory categorization of Utah plant communities. Supplementary tools include photos, distribution maps, and an illustrated glossary.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-825-1
    Subjects: Biological Sciences, Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. 1 Introduction to the Woody Flora
    (pp. 1-8)

    A book on the native woody plants of Utah could vary in length, depending on how one defines the term “woody.” For the purpose of this book, we define woody plants as those retaining woody tissue aboveground season after season. This definition includes taxa described as trees, vines, shrubs, cacti, subshrubs, and some suffrutescent species (decisions on which taxa to include become difficult—no doubt others might have different interpretations).

    The anatomy of the stem usually determines whether a plant is woody or not. Woody plants have stems that persist aboveground through seasons unfavorable for growth, due to drought or...

  2. 2 Major Utah Plant Communities
    (pp. 9-26)

    Professionals and interested naturalists are usually introduced to the plant life of a region via a list of species known to occur in the area. Such species lists are technically known as floras. Floras are of unquestionable value to those interested in regional ecosystems, but they are of limited help to laymen seeking to understand the holistic aspects of landscapes readily discernable in an area.

    Observers will easily recognize different aspects of the plant cover or vegetation in a locale. Forests are readily distinguishable from adjacent areas that support only herbaceous species or are dominated by shrubby plants that never...

  3. 3 Key to Woody Plants of Utah
    (pp. 27-104)

    Using a dichotomous key requires choosing between a series of two contrasting statements that lead to a tentative identification of a plant, much like a game of 20 questions that allows you to find an answer through the process of elimination. The following set of keys is based primarily on the vegetative characteristics of average mature plants, rather than the flower characteristics typical of most identification keys. The keys may also include the habitat, elevation, geography, substrate, and distribution that is most descriptive for the species. In the majority of cases, there is no attempt to identify varieties within species...

  4. 4 Gymnosperm Descriptions
    (pp. 105-123)

    The term “gymnosperm” is derived from two Greek words, gymnos, meaning “naked,” and sperma, meaning “seed.” It commonly refers to vascular plants with naked seeds. These plants have no flowers, the seeds are not enclosed in a fruit, and the pollen is airborne. Gymnosperms include four major divisions: Ginkgophyta (ginkgo), Cycadophyta (cycads), Gnetophyta (Gnetum and ephedra), and Pinophyta (conifers). Many species in the division Pinophyta are important economically. Extant gymnosperms represent only a fraction of the diversity of members of this group that once lived on earth. Gymnosperms native to Utah are represented by three families: Cupressaceae, Ephedraceae, and Pinaceae....

  5. 5 Angiosperm Descriptions
    (pp. 124-453)

    The term angiosperm commonly refers to the “flowering plants.” These vascular plants produce flowers with seeds that are enclosed and protected within a fruit (the ripened ovary of a flower). The flowers of this group are modified to disperse their pollen by wind, water, or animals. The seeds are highly adapted for various methods of dispersal. Angiosperms are adapted to nearly every environment, including aquatic to extremely arid ones, other plant surfaces (epiphytes), and even underground. Angiosperms have typically been divided into two classes, dicots and monocots. Dicots are characterized by having flower parts in multiples of four or five...