hydrurga's picture

Book on trees

Does anyone know of any good books that I can buy that cover UK trees, including identification characters and images of the various development stages (bud, flower, twig etc)? Also, if possible, not written in too technical a manner.

I've noticed "British Trees: A photographic guide to every common species (Collins Complete Guide)" (Sterry, 2008) and "Collins Tree Guide" (Johnson, 2006) - has anybody used either of these?




landgirl's picture

Tree books

Trees in Britain, Europe and North America by Roger Phillips (1978) - excellent photos and very cheap secondhand, if you can find it.
AIDGAP guide to identification of deciduous broad-leaved trees and shrubs in winter - Andrew May and Jonathan Palmer (2000) - does what it says, clear line drawings and a key. I believe a new edition is due soon.
Trees of Britain and Northern Europe, Alan Mitchell and John Wilkinson, Collins 1982. Colour illustrations of trees including conifers.
Spotter's guide to trees, Usborne 1978 - children's book but useful for ID pointers for common trees.
I haven't felt the need to get anything more up to date, and anyway I like old and secondhand books!

David Trevan's picture

Tree Books

One of my favourite tree books which I use a lot is "Cassell's Trees of Britain and Northern Europe" by David More and John White. It's quite a weighty tome,which covers 1800 species and cultivars. The colour illustrations are wonderful and it is laid out in taxonomic groups in family order. It also cover important garden cultivars which are also well illustrated.Don't know whether it is still in print, when I bought mine it was £50.00 but worth every penny!The illustrations cover habit,bark, leaves flowers and fruits.It was published in 2003.

David J Trevan

hydrurga's picture

Many thanks

Many thanks for your suggestions Alyson and David. Cassell's Trees looks excellent but I'll have to wait until I have the wherewithal. For the moment, I've ordered May's "A Guide to the Identification of Deciduous Broad - Leaved Trees and Shrubs in Winter", Mitchell's "The Trees of Britain and Northern Europe", and Sterry's "British Trees: A photographic guide to every common species". Hopefully my tree identification skills will take a turn for the better with those!


Rachy Ramone's picture

Tree books

I would certainly say, try to get as many tree books as you can. Ask around at work, put up a card on the noticeboard, check your local charity shops, and try asking on Freecycle/Freegle: whatever route(s) are open to you.

You will find that many of the books contradict each other: and - in my experience - several of the more modern books copy each other, and therefore copy mistakes. Also, they are woefully inconsistent in the information they provide: one will give a feature for one species, then not bother to tell you if other species in the same genus have the same feature or not. (I find this very maddening) So the more books you have, the better to get all the information.

When you find something contradictory, research it - this is the best way to learn.

Having the internet available is fabulous, but do bear in mind that it is often wrong... pics are often mis-labelled and, again, people do copy from each other, thus repeating mistakes.

My personal tree Best Books are:

Alan Mitchell's Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe (bought for £3 in a charity shop, excellent reference material)

AIDGAP guide to the ID of broadleaved trees in winter (from the FSC website - excellent for getting started on winter buds)

Collins Complete Guide to British Trees (the blue cover is the one I have, it's very good: there is a newer version out with a black cover and more info. It's small enough to take out in the field, but has a lot of info in it.)

After a few months, you will realise which book you are constantly looking at, and which ones you no longer use.

I have to say that when out with my Botany Crew, all of us bring different books: and this is very useful for promoting discussion, and in covering gaps. That's why I would recommend getting as many as you can - cheap, preferably!

Hope this helps.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

hydrurga's picture

Re: Tree Books

Thanks for the great advice Rachy!