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The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas

The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas

Regular price $29.95 USD
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George M. Diggs, Jr. & Barney L. Lipscomb

SBM 38
ISSN: 0883-1475
ISBN-13: 978-1-889878-37-9

Publication Date: March 2014

Copyright © Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Specifications: 7"×10" (flexbound), 392 pp., color photos, distribution maps.

About the Book

Texas has a surprising number of native ferns and lycophytes — 127 in all, the most of any state in the continental U.S.A. This is particularly unexpected given that most people associate ferns and related plants with humid, even tropical conditions, just the opposite of much of Texas. This book explains why and looks at the fascinating world of Texas ferns, ranging from the swamp forests of far East Texas, to the hidden canyons of the Edwards Plateau, and even to the high mountain “sky islands” of such places as Big Bend National Park. Each species has an illustration page with a color photo, a line drawing, and detailed maps. Be ready to be surprised by this special group of Texas plants!

In November of 2017, The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas won the Donovan Stewart Correll Award from the Native Plant Society of Texas. Read more about the award here.

Companion Website

Want to explore more of Texas’ native ferns and lycophytes? Please visit the companion website The site features contents from the book, links to specimen collections, and a multi-access visual key!

About the Authors

George Diggs, Ph.D. is a botanist and evolutionary biologist who has taught for more than 30 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. His research interests include the flora of Texas, evolution as it relates to human health, biogeography, and the systematics of the Ericaceae (the blueberry family). He has co-authored four books and more than 30 scientific articles, and has given hundreds of public lectures. In his research he has traveled to all seven continents. He is the Donald MacGregor Chair of Natural Science at Austin College and a Research Associate at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

Barney Lipscomb is a botanist, editor, public speaker, and researcher who began his career at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, in 1975 and is now the Leonhardt Chair of Texas Botany at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth. His research interests include the flora of Texas, taxonomy of the Cyperaceae (the sedge family), poisonous plants, the application of botany to forensic science, and natural history art as it relates to science. He has co-authored three books, contributed more than 30 scientific articles, and has given more than 700 public lectures to advance the public’s understanding of botany.

What People Are Saying

The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas is a masterpiece of organization and presentation featuring all of the ferns and fern allies known to occur in the state.  This is the first comprehensive treatment of Texas ferns since D.S. Correll’s “Pteridophyta” in 1955 (vol. 1, C.L. Lundell’s Flora of Texas).  The new fern book includes updated taxonomy, new discoveries, distribution maps, line drawings, thoughtfully composed color images, and loads of additional information about each species, including literature reference sources, clearly written keys and descriptions, and highlighted characters useful for identification in the field.—A. Michael Powell, Emeritus Professor, Director of the Herbarium, Sul Ross State University

This in-depth, fact-filled, long-awaited book, is an indispensable guide for any field botanist.  I especially enjoyed the detailed new information on fern phylogeny, classification, and reproduction.  The family keys are invaluable for field identification. I highly recommend adding this important reference to your botanical bookshelf.—Sonnia Hill, fern enthusiast & field botanist

From the driest desert to the wettest valley, from the Gulf Coast to the top of Guadalupe Peak, ferns and other spore-producing vascular plants exist in virtually every habitat in Texas. These adaptable plants are both diverse and attractive, and searching for the various kinds around the state can be a pleasant challenge that can grow into an addictive passion. As it turns out, based on the careful research by two outstanding botanists and authors—George Diggs and Barney Lipscomb—Texas has more species of ferns than almost any other state. What a wonderful thing that plant enthusiasts now have this remarkable, beautiful, and authoritative book to use in getting to know these unusual plants!—George Yatskievych, Curator, Director - Flora of Missouri Project, Missouri Botanical Garden


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