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Since Kentucky is situated at a biological crossroads in eastern North America, citizens and visitors to this beautiful state are likely to be greeted by an astonishing variety of wildflowers. This non-technical guide—featuring more than five hundred dazzling full-color photographs by award-winning photographer Thomas G. Barnes—is the state’s indispensable guide to the most common species in the Commonwealth.

With this book, readers will learn to identify and appreciate Kentucky wildflowers and ferns by matching photographs and leaf line drawings to the more than six hundred and fifty species of flowers covered in the book. Extremely practical and simple to use, the guide’s color photographs and line drawings appear with plant descriptions for easy identification, and plants are grouped by flower color and blooming season. Each species listing includes the plant’s common and scientific name, plant family, habitat, frequency, and distribution throughout Kentucky, with similar species listed in the notes.

There is no other volume that covers the flora of Kentucky with such ease of identification. The first new statewide guide to appear in thirty years, with its combination of high quality photographs, illustrations, portability, and easy organization of information, Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky is an essential addition to the library or field pack of the wildflower enthusiast, naturalist, and anyone else who loves the outdoors.

Thomas G. Barnes, an extension professor of forestry and wildlife specialist in the Department of Forestry, College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky, is the author of Kentucky’s Last Great Places.

Former naturalist S. Wilson Francis, Ph.D., is park superintendent at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky.

"An essential addition to the library or field pack of the wildflower enthusiast or naturalist."—Kentucky Alumni

"A striking volume, memorable not only for its color photographs and plant descriptions but also for its introductory exposition of such pertinent matters as finding a good definition for 'wildflower' and one for 'weed.'"—Mountain Eagle

"There isn't a gardener on your gift list who wouldn't be delighted by this book. Don't forget-you need a copy too."—Southsider

"Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky is an extraordinarily beautiful, helpful, full color, 344-page guide showing 634 of the most common species of native ferns and seed-bearing wildflowers in Kentucky."—State Magazine

"Utilizes strong artistic compositions without compromising the identifiable characteristics of the plant."—Burpee Museum of Natural History

"This book is an excellent choice for professionals and general readers interested in the flora of Kentucky, adjacent states, and the northeastern US. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"Contains superb color photographs that make identifying the ferns and flowers much easier."—Modern Mountain Magazine

"A must-have for Kentuckiana gardeners. . . . A beautiful book that is easy to use (and carry) as a field guide."—Perry County News

"An astonishing variety of plant life exists in Kentucky's diverse geography, and the book represents the impressive mix. . . . Even a botanical novice will benefit from perusing this delightfully blooming book."—Southern Living

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Wild flowers, Ferns, Kentucky


Plant Sciences

Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky
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