Woodland Flowers: Colourful past, uncertain future (British Wildlife Collection)
More often than not, we don’t see the wood for the trees. Observing the plants of the forest floor – the flowers, ferns, sedges and grasses – can be a vital way of understanding the nature of British woodland. For centuries, woodland plants have been part of our lives in practical ways, as food and medicines, and as the inspirations for poetry, perfume and pub signs. They tell us stories about the history of woodland, its past management, and how that has changed – not always for the better. They can also be a visible sign of progress when we get conservation right.
Woodland Flowers is an insightful and original account on the subject by Keith Kirby, woodland ecologist, co-editor of Europe’s Changing Woods and Forests and co-author of the Woodland Survey Handbook. The book explores how woodland plants in Britain have come to be where they are, how they cope with living in the shade of their bigger relatives and tolerate the attentions of grazing herbivores. Woodland flora sit at the heart of a complex web of interactions between fungi and insects as well as animals. It also looks at the challenges woodland plants face with changing conditions throughout the seasons, and how they respond to threats in the form of storms, fires, droughts and floods. Along the way, the reader is introduced to the work of important botanists who have walked the woods in the past, collecting information on where plants occur and why. Profiles of some of our most important and popular ground flora species provide extra detail and insight.
Beautifully illustrated, Woodland Flowers is a must for anyone who appreciates and wants to learn more about British woodland and its plants.