Access Type

Due to COVID-19, online access to this book has temporarily been made available to all users.



Download Full Text (20.5 MB)


Plant Life of Kentucky is the first comprehensive guide to all the ferns, flowering herbs, and woody plants of the state. This long-awaited work provides identification keys for Kentucky’s 2,600 native and naturalized vascular plants, with notes on wildlife/human uses, poisonous plants, and medicinal herbs. The common name, flowering period, habitat, distribution, rarity, and wetland status are given for each species, and about 80 percent are illustrated with line drawings. The inclusion of 250 additional species from outside the state (these species are “to be expected” in Kentucky) broadens the regional coverage, and most plants occurring from northern Alabama to southern Ohio to the Mississippi River (an area of wide similarity in flora) are examined, including nearly all the plants of western and central Tennessee. The author also describes prehistoric and historical changes in the flora, natural regions and plant communities, significant botanists, current threats to plant life, and a plan for future studies. Plant Life of Kentucky is intended as a research tool for professionals in biology and related fields, and as a resource for students, amateur naturalists, and others interested in understanding and preserving our rich botanical heritage.

A book that belongs in the libraries of Kentuckians. It provides all that is needed to identify local ferns, grasses, herbs, and woody plants and to learn a bit about their natural history. . . . Highly recommended. -- Choice

A comprehensive state accounting of the native and naturalized plant species of Kentucky. . . . Should hold up to extensive field and herbarium usage. -- Huntia

Offers a wealth of data. This 834-page work covers all of the documented vascular plants in the state as well as 250 others thought possibly to occur in Kentucky. . . . Jones's volume should go a long way towards bringing Kentucky floristics into the modern era. -- Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences

This is a monumental work and one to be compared to only a few state publications. -- Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science

Jones brings Kentucky botany into the new century by providing an up-to-date and thorough reference. . . . Indispensable. -- Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society

Botanists and researchers have a new reference guide to Kentucky's plant life. . . . Provides details on the common name, flowering period, habitat, locality, and abundance of the species, as well as its more general wildlife and human uses. -- Kentucky Monthly

The 834-page encyclopedia is an up-to-date listing of 2,600 plants, with descriptions, information about where they grow, when they bloom, their rarity, and whether they have medicinal or herbal uses. -- Lexington Herald-Leader

A must-have for serious gardeners in this region. It is especially useful for those who garden with an eye to native plants and natural landscaping. -- Louisville Courier-Journal

A comprehensive reference guide to Kentucky's plant life, and is ideal for students, teachers, landscapers and consultants, wildlife biologists, county agents, environmentalists, and amateur naturalists alike. -- Modern Mountain Magazine

An excellent account of the vascular plant life of Kentucky. . . . More than a taxonomic manual. . . . Jones has done it, and he is to be congratulated for this fine achievement. -- Native Plants

Jones's work is substantial in content, quality, and physical size. He should be commended for the effort involved and the high caliber of the finished product. -- Plant Science Bulletin

A monumental and much-needed work. . . . It will remain a valuable and much-thumbed reference for years to come. -- Rhodora

A monumental work-it will serve as a comprehensive reference guide to the plant life in Kentucky and an identification manual of the vascular plants for generations of botanists in the Commonwealth. -- SIDA, Contributions to Botany

The most comprehensive guide ever written on Kentucky's plant life. . . . A useful book for any Kentucky citizen who needs to know what a plant is and what role it plays in the ecosystem. -- Southeastern Naturalist

“I have no doubt that Plant Life of Kentucky will quickly become the standard reference for Kentucky’s botanists.” -- Systematic Botany

This definitive, groundbreaking guide is beyond compare, and sets the standard by which other state floras should be judged. -- Connie Krochmal -- BellaOnline

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Plants, Botany, Kentucky


Plant Sciences

Plant Life of Kentucky: An Illustrated Guide to the Vascular Flora
Read Sample