Until now, there has not been a single, full-color guide to some of the most recognizable genera of the southwestern United States: Agave, Dasylirion, Hechtia, Hesperaloe, Hesperoyucca, Nolina, and Yucca (the century plants, sotols, false agaves, chaparral yuccas, beargrasses, and yuccas). Some of the species treated in this guide have previously appeared scattered throughout a dozen other field guides, often split roughly between wildflowers and woody plants, or they have been confined to studies of small geographic regions. Still others have appeared virtually nowhere other than in the Flora of North America or in various state floras.
Intended for the layperson, Agaves, Yuccas, and Their Kin covers all currently recognized taxa of these seven genera, in alphabetical order, ranging from Texas to the Pacific. Geographically, this guide covers all of the southwestern United States, encompassing southern California, southern Nevada, all of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, plus western Texas, from Brownsville north through the Panhandle into Colorado, including the Edwards Plateau. It includes forms that may have been discounted at some time by various authors, as well as recently published or as yet unpublished taxa not previously presented in any other book.
Complete with almost four hundred color photographs of species in various life cycle stages, Agaves, Yuccas, and Their Kin is a comprehensive, accessible, and much needed field guide for xerophile enthusiasts all across the Southwest.
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Interested in all aspects of natural history, Jon L. Hawker taught biology, botany, zoology, animal behavior, and ecology at St. Louis Community College for thirty-six years. He lives in Arizona.Review:
Although I am a professional plant taxonomist, I have always been frustrated on my trips to the western United States because I could never identify satisfactorily the agaves, yuccas, and similar-looking plants that I found in the wild. Now, with Agaves, Yuccas, and Their Kin, Jon Hawker has solved that problem and done the impossible in creating an easy-to-use identification guide to these enigmatic plants.
—Bob Mohlenbrock, distinguished professor emeritus, Southern Illinois University
Jon Hawker masterfully explains the taxonomy and nomenclature of all the plants he covers and expertly leads the reader through the intricacies and nuances of the oft-times confusing world of plant names. The photographs of all taxa give the reader a feel for the differences between species and what to expect when looking for these plants in habitat. The straightforward, logical approach keeps the reader focused.
—Greg Starr, Starr Nursery, Tucson, Arizona
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