Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide
Characterized by an abundance of pavement, reflected heat,polluted air and contaminated soil, our cities and towns may seemharsh and unwelcoming to vegetation. However, there are a number ofplants that manage to grow spontaneously in sidewalk cracks androadside meridians, flourish along chain-link fences and railroadtracks, line the banks of streams and rivers, and emerge in themidst of landscape plantings and trampled lawns. On their own andfree of charge, these plants provide ecological services includingtemperature reduction, oxygen production, carbon storage, food andhabitat for wildlife, pollution mitigation, and erosion control onslopes. Around the world, wild plants help to make urbanenvironments more habitable for people.Peter Del Tredici's lushly illustrated field guide to wild urbanplants of the northeastern United States is the first of its kind.While it covers the area bounded by Montreal, Boston, Washington,D.C. and Detroit, it is broadly applicable to temperate urbanenvironments across North America. The book covers 222 species thatflourish without human assistance or approval. Rather thanvilifying such plants as weeds, Del Tredici stresses that it isimportant to notice, recognize, and appreciate their contributionto the quality of urban life. Indeed their very toughness in theface of heat islands, elevated levels of carbon dioxide andubiquitous contamination is indicative of the important role theyhave to play in helping humans adapt to the challenges presented byurbanization, globalization and climate change.The species accounts--158 main entries plus 64 secondaryspecies-feature descriptive information including scientific nameand taxonomic authority, common names, botanical family, life form,place of origin, and identification features. Del Tredici focusesespecially on their habitat preferences, environmental functions,and cultural significance. Each entry is accompanied by originalfull-color photographs by the author which show the plants'characteristics and growth forms in their typical habitats. WildUrban Plants of the Northeast will help readers learn to see theseplants-the natural vegetation of the urban environment-with freshappreciation and understanding.