Brush and Weeds of Texas Rangelands

Book review: Brush and Weeds of Texas Rangelands.
Charles R. Hart, Barron Rector, C. Wayne Hanselka, Robert K. Lyons, and Allan McGinty. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX. 2008. $25.00. 204 pp. Paperback. ISBN 0-9721049-4-1.

By Richard E. Zartman

Brush and Weeds of Texas RangelandsAs the title indicates, Brush and Weeds of Texas Rangelands describes and documents in words and copious color photographs the brush and rangeland weed plants found in Texas. The book has a short, two-page preface followed by a color plate map showing the 10 vegetational areas of Texas. The main section of the book, titled “Plant Descriptions,” lists and describes 96 Texas brush and rangeland weed plants.

This section contains 96 maps documenting locations where the plants grow and approximately 400 color photographs depicting various plant vegetation and reproductive parts. Typically, there is a two-page spread devoted to each brush or rangeland weed.

The left-hand page begins with the common name(s) for the plant and a Texas map showing the geographic region where the plant is located. Beneath the common name is the scientific name and family to which the plant belongs. Next follows text describing the plant, its leaf structure, flower description, use, and limitation or warning from a rangeland perspective. The final text information is the regional distribution and growth habitat for the plant.

The facing right-hand page generally contains four or more color photographs of the plant. These photographs typically represent the population, whole plant, stem, leaf, flower, and/or fruit. The next section of the book details the common name for the brush or rangeland weeds grouped by vegetation region.

Brush and Weeds of Texas Rangelands book ends with an index of plants listed by family, common names, and scientific names.

According to the preface, “About 111 million acres in Texas—more than 70% of the state's land surface—is considered native rangeland or permanent pastures”; therefore, brush and rangeland weed plants can be problems over vast regions.

The authors are all experienced extension specialists and faculty with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in the Texas A&M University system. They bring their individual and joint experiences to this well-documented, easy-to-use field guide. This Brush and Weeds of Texas Rangelands book was not written to give specific rangeland management recommendations but to serve as an identification guide to brush and rangeland weeds.

This informative, highly illustrated book is a must for anyone who is interested in identifying brush and rangeland weed plants on rangeland, highway rights-of-way, permanent pastures, or other large tracks of land in Texas.

Although this book is focused on Texas brush and rangeland weed plants, people in adjoining states with similar climate and soil resources to those in Texas would also benefit from this field guide.

Book review: Brush and Weeds of Texas Rangelands.
Source: Journal of Environmental Quality   2010 39:1534-1534.

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