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Help with essential reading for botany diploma

Hi, not sure where this question would go but I shall stick it here and cross fingers!

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of some essential reading for a botany diploma. I have been very interested on the subject for years and have decided to study, however when I asked the college for a reading list they said they could not supply one unless I enrolled, thing is I don't want to enrol until I know more about the basics. Does anyone have any good pointers to some essential books on botany?

Green Thumb
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Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 3:37 pm

Just start with your local library and librarian! The true-blood librarians have masters degrees and should be fairly knowledgeable about what books would be good and what ones are a waste of time.

Surf your local college's website and find the email of a couple botany or plant biology professors and e-mail them directly for book recommendations.

When I wanted to learn how to garden I just went to the library and started reading gardening books. Now that it's out of prime gardening season, all the "good" books have been returned and the shelf is brimming with knowledge for me to soak in. But I'm just a casual suburban gardener, not trying for any advance knowledge mind you!

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Location: Oregon

If you live in the U.S., you might check with your local County Extension Service. Ours here has a Master Gardener program, which is run through our local community college. I'm sure they would have some good suggestions for you. :)

Greener Thumb
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Location: US

I require Brian Capon's 'Botany for Gardeners' in a refresher course.

A friend of mine is currently enrolled in a horticultural program and her Botany 101 professor chose to require Capon's text.

Believe the New England Wild Flower Society as well as the Chicago Botanical Garden are requiring 'Botany for Gardeners' too. There are many others using this text at either an introductory or a refresher course level.

You won't have the benefit of labs or field work but I believe you'll still get a lot out of the book. It's written in easy to grasp layman's terms.

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Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

Check out the university's website, each professor should have a page with the courses taught and syllibi with required textbook. Unfortunately the texts cost around $100 a pop and more, but you can pick them up used for less. Older editions cost even less because they are not used any more for the courses. But there is a problem,... you will probably have to buy the new edition if you take the class or risk missing the new information it contains when you are tested on it. Once you find out the botanical topics the department teaches (get that from the faculty pages, not the university list of courses because the university catalog is full of courses that are almost never taught). Once you know the name-topic of the courses, search online for lectures professors at other universities have posted for their students.

Reading lists for individual upper level courses usually consist of the textbook and maybe some scientific journal articles, which are usually only found in a university science library. These articles rely on the lecture notes/and discussion sections of the course to get much out of them. For horticulture courses it is even more difficult because the readings may be gray literature (technical reports etc) not widely published.

Also check out all the required courses for the degree you seek to get some idea of what you are in for.

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