We in North Texas have had the Shinner’s & Mahler’s Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas published by BRIT but it is a heavy volume. Now we finally have a field guide we can carry with us, with color photos and identifying features highlighted.
Mary Curry worked with Shirley Lusk, the Charles Leonard Weddle Award winner, who has been studying plants in the field and working with BRIT for a very long time. Shirley knows where the plants are, what makes them what they are and she knows private land owners in multiple counties which helped Mary learn, photograph and produce a guide such as this. This book also preserves the vast knowledge that Shirley has passed along to every person that has ever hiked with her. Thank you Mary!
The layout of each page in the book includes bloom time in months of the year highlighted at the top, common name and scientific name, annual, perennial or if non-native. Each has 3 to 5 photos showing whole plant, flower, leaves, hairs or whatever feature is helpful for identification. Then at the bottom, in bullet form, a list of features about the plant, like growth form, features, soil or habitat type, and so forth.
Mary learned photography techniques and equipment use in her journey to capture the almost 340 species she has put in this book. And she didn’t just take pretty pictures. She also focused on parts of the plants that are important to know for proper identification between one species and another. Each species also has a reference to a page number from Shinner’s & Mahler’s Flora.
Mary spent 4 years studying and photographing in the field with Shirley Lusk. She also is a Master Naturalist, has done volunteer work for the LBJ National Grasslands, and for about 10 years she has lead a monthly birding group out there that did a lot more than watch birds. She would teach the butterflies, dragonflies, plants and anything else they would come across.
For so long we have needed a guide for North Central Texas and the vast species we have up here. Our best guide before this was Marshall Enquist’s Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country. Now we have a guide specific for our area and well worth the investment. It can be obtained through Amazon or in person from Mary if you are meeting up with her at a meeting and let her know to bring one.