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Under The Microscope

NATIVE TREES OF NEW ZEALAND 1 AND 2, by J.T. Salmon; Mobil New Zealand Nature Series, Reed, 1998; 89 pp; $14.95 each

WHICH NATIVE TREE? by Andrew Crowe; Penguin, 1999; 64 pp; $19.95

NEW ZEALAND NATIVE FLOWERS OF THE BUSH by Colin Ogle; Penguin Pocket Guides, 1997; 64 pp; $9.95

Reviewed by Inge Andrew

I've been looking forward to the day that J.T. Salmon puts out smaller versions of his wonderful book The Trees in New Zealand: Native Trees, which are cheaper and of course easier to carry around. The two smaller field guides, produced in conjunction with the Mobil New Zealand Nature Series, reproduce the exquisite photographs and text of the larger version for the discerning botanist. Each species has a two-page dedication with three to four photos, including one of the entire tree, flower/fruit and leaf type, as well as concise explanations on general appearance, foliage and distribution.

These field guides are well presented and cover a large range of native trees but use of the books may require some general tree background knowledge.

Andrew Crowe's book Which Native Tree? has a limited number of recorded species but introduces the budding botanist to the use of the plant key.

Crowe's excellent pictorial key leads the reader to a few basic leaf shapes which eventuates on to specific tree species. Each page then offers a photograph and general descriptions as well as interesting historical information on Maori and Pakeha tree uses and cultivation tips.

The last field guide is a surprising little book in that few New Zealanders probably know the extent and beauty of our flowering native plants. With wonderfully portrayed photographs and text by Colin Ogle, the reader can indulge in detailed descriptions of flower architecture as well as general distribution. This book may of use to those thinking about planting flowering natives for the garden as well as keen flower seekers in the bush.