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"Apprenez à
les connaître,
à les aimer
et à les
protéger!"

Hal Hinds &
et son livre
"Flora of
N.B."

Dans cet article, l’auteur David Christie nous parle de la nouvelle édition de l’ouvrage faisant autorité et rédigé par Hal Hinds, "The Flora of New Brunswick", dont la deuxième édition paraissait en janvier. 

David explique comment utiliser ce livre pour identifier les plantes et les spécimens; il décrit également les améliorations qu’il a remarquées dans cette deuxième édition. "Je suis vraiment heureux que Hal ait eu la chance de compléter ce travail, de le voir publié et de jouir des nombreuses accolades pour un travail bien fait. 

Ce livre représente le montant de travail incroyable qu’il a fait avec l’aide de plusieurs collaborateurs/trices", explique M. Christie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is a wealth of information. It will take some effort on our part to use it fully but it will provide knowledge about the plants of our province that you can't find easily anywhere else.

It's available from the Biology Department at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton for $50 + $8 shipping.
For details check the
UNB Web site

 

 

 

"Learn them -
Love them - Protect them!"

Hal Hinds and his 
'Flora of New Brunswick'


David Christie

Nature NB
June 2001

nable to attend the Celebration of Life in memory of Hal Hinds, Mary Majka and I instead visited a local patch of woodland wildflowers and quietly recalled Hal's enthusiasm for and dedication to the natural world, and the good times we had shared with him, in the field and at many meetings and other get-togethers.

Hal Hinds with Elizabeth May 1999
Hal Hinds speaking with Elizabeth May
 at CCNB's Milton F. Gregg Awards (1999)

(photo: Conservation Council of New Brunwick)


I decided on this occasion, that I must complete my intention to let you know more about the new edition of Hal's authoritative work: 'The Flora of New Brunswick', second edition, that became available in January.

I'm really pleased that Hal had the chance to complete this work, to see it published, and to enjoy the accolades for a job well done. This book represents a tremendous amount of his work aided by a number of collaborators. 
Hal's approach to nature is neatly summed up in what he wrote when autographing our copy of his new 'Flora': "Learn them - Love them - Protect them!"

The original "Flora," published in 1986, stimulated a lot of interest in the vascular plants (ferns and their allies, conifers, and flowering plants) of our province. In the intervening years, Hal and others discovered a lot more about our plant species, their status and distribution. His objective this time was to update the earlier work by incorporating that new information and utilizing the most current names and classification. (Taxonomy evolves much more quickly than the organisms do, as new studies -- and/or changing points of view -- alter our understanding of biotic relationships.) As a result, we have a new book that includes 1644 species (plus 285 extra subspecies, varieties and hybrids) known to have been found growing in the wild in New Brunswick, of which 88 species are new discoveries. The 1644 also reflects a net gain of about 60 species over the first edition because of taxonomic change (adding species that were split, subtracting ones that were lumped).

To identify an unknown plant, users of this book have two main aids, keys and illustrations. Plus, for perhaps a few hundred species, there are Hal's additional comments about distinctive characteristics that may be useful for identification (e.g. about Calopogon: "Blooming from late June to late July, this is the only pink orchid species with the lip in the uppermost position.")
With an adequate specimen, the technically inclined can start from scratch, if necessary, at the initial key to get to families and work through numerous choices to the species. More often, already recognizing the family or genus, one can start from the descriptive keys at one of those levels. The less ambitious can match a specimen to the illustrations and, when in doubt, refer to the keys for the group their plant resembles. The illustrations, reproduced from Britton and Brown's 1913 classic, "An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada," are useful, although in this edition they are even more reduced in size than they were in the first edition.

The basic text for each species consists of the scientific name (including author), the meaning of the specific name (e.g., palustre = of marshes), and a brief statement of current knowledge of the plant's frequency of occurrence and habitat within N.B. and its general distribution. Where applicable, there are English and French common names (more French names are included in this edition), and new this time, Maliseet and Mi'kmaq names for 180 plants that have special utility to man. Other additions are the conservation status rank of rare plants, often the chromosome numbers, warnings about species that are poisonous or may cause dermatitis, and notes on toxicity, edibility (e.g., Amelanchier laevis fruits are "especially sweet and palatable," 
A. canadensis
ones "distasteful"), hybridization, or first discovery of the plant in our province.

Flora book cover

The layout of this book is much improved from the earlier edition. Although fairly small, the type is good-looking and easily readable, and the approximately 1000 distribution maps and 1500 plant illustrations are integrated within the text instead of being placed in separate sections at the back. This major improvement saves a lot of frustrated flipping back and forth. I can get along well with the reduction of the maps, but the drawings are more difficult for aging eyes to pick out details without a hand lens.

Depending on how well the first-edition map conveyed a species' distribution in the province, some maps are unchanged, some have one or a few dots added, and a few have been greatly augmented. Maps are not included for most common species that are found virtually throughout New Brunswick nor for ones known from three or fewer localities, each of which is mentioned in the text.

The keys and species accounts, the heart of this book, are supported by a partially illustrated glossary of terms and a comprehensive index. Appendices include: last-minute additions that didn't make the main text; a table of the number of taxa by family (Asteraceae with 183 species is the largest) and number of introduced species (23% overall); and lists of plants believed to have been extirpated and lists of potential additions--plants known from neighbouring regions but not here.

Two special sections contributed by other authors augment the introductory information. First is Mary Young's history of New Brunswick plant study that also graced the first edition. Then, a fascinating new account by Stephen Clayden of the geological, climatic and historical background and regional variation of our vegetation.

So far, I have used the new Flora mainly for browsing, picking it up from time to time to scout for interesting notes that Hal has included, for distribution patterns revealed by the maps, and for classification changes that come as a surprise to me, whose knowledge of plants dates principally from the 1960s and 1970s. Using it to identify some dried grasses, I smiled at the discovery of the remark, "Good luck!" beginning the keys to that rather difficult family.  Thanks, Hal, I needed it.

Sadly, it's now too late to get a personal inscription from its ardent author.