WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Encyclopedia of North American Trees

The Encyclopedia of North American Trees
by Sam Benvie

Firefly Books, 2000
Hardbound, 304 pp, $35.00
ISBN: 1-55209-408-1

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    "Trees and their environments are integral, mutually defining and endlessly dynamic…It is necessary to know what they are, their diversity of kind, the environments they help to shape, and how they are used…"
     In a beautiful, full-color coffee table book of encyclopedic listings, Benvie has amassed an excellent reference. The firs, the maples, the alders, the birches…cypress, ash, walnuts, crabapples…it's all here, from high production consumer stock to decorative yard trees.
     Introducing trees by Latin names, and fully indexing by common names, Benvie has succeeded in listing species and subtypes in a way that is informative and easy to find. With photos and full descriptions, he differentiates pin cherry, wild red cherry, fire cherry, bird cherry, and black cherry. Thirty pages are devoted to different varieties of oak and their properties.
     This is a book to get lost in. The reader may intend to look up specific information, but will quickly become sidetracked! It has a full glossary, a list of organizations and places to visit, and a list of tree hardness zones in North America. It also has a bibliography for further reading. This is a beautifully photographed volume.

...Barb Siddiqui