Summary of plant taxonomy book rec.

Jerry Bricker jeraldbr at CAMERON.EDU
Tue Aug 20 18:27:34 CDT 2002

Thanks to those that replied to my query regarding plant taxonomy
textbooks.  The texts positively mentioned for use are listed below
ranked by the number of positive responses.  They were:

Judd et al.
Walters & Keil

Judd et al. (5 responses) was by far the most popular text with
Woodland's and Zomlefer's texts came in second (2 responses each).
The rest of the texts received a single suggestion.

My impression is that the split in preference between Judd's text and
Woodland's derives from what emphasis the course being taught takes.
It appears that an attempt is being made in the classroom to address
the shifts in classification that are resulting from the application
of modern techniques and Judd's text does that better than the others
on the list.  It was commented that Woodland's text is much more
traditional and presents the basics a bit better but lacks floral
symbols for the plant families and the illustrations are pretty poor.
Unfortunately, I haven't seen a copy of Zomlefer's text so I can't
comment on its attributes.

I think what this comes down to is how one wants to address recent
advancements in the field.  Many of us currently teaching botany,
myself included, learned under the Cronquistian system.  Most of the
material published in botany and plant taxonomy before 1998 used some
flavor of Cronquist.  The biggest challenge seems to be how to have
students understand the historical literature found in the older
survey texts, floras, etc. while also being flexible enough in their
thought processes to adapt as advancements occur.  Woodland's text is
the conservative approach while Judd's is more aggressive.  One
approach may be more suitable for the undergraduate the other for the
graduate student.

One thing I did notice in the replies I received was that there was a
fairly strong belief by the sender on which approach to use.  To me
that indicates the field is dynamically changing and remaining

As a side note.  It seems to me that the number of good botany texts
has declined in recent years.  I have been searching for a good
textbook for several semesters for our survey of anatomy and
diversity course.  I need a book similar to "Morphology of Plants and
Fungi" by Bold et al.  I'm told by the textbook companies there is no
demand for such a text.  Of course, I disagree.  If other faculty are
in the same situation I'd like to hear from you.  A few more voices
from the wilderness might help make my argument.





Jerry Bricker
Department of Biological Sciences
Cameron University
2800 W. Gore Blvd.
Lawton, OK 73505
Phone: 580-581-2374
FAX: 580-591-8004
E-mail: jeraldbr at

"If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong. In that simple
statement is the key to science. It doesn't matter how beautiful the
theory is, how smart you are, or what your name is - if it disagrees
with experiment, it's wrong."

Richard P. Feyman

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