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Weeds of North America

“What is a weed,” opined Emerson, “but a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered?” While that may be a worthy notion in theory, these plants of undiscovered virtue cause endless hours of toil for backyard gardeners. Wherever they take root, weeds compete for resources, and most often win. They also wreak havoc on industry—from agriculture to golf courses to civic landscape projects, vast amounts of money are spent to eradicate these virile and versatile invaders. With so much at stake, reliable information on weeds and their characteristics is crucial. Richard Dickinson and France Royer shed light on this complex world with Weeds of North America, the essential reference for all who wish to understand the science of the all-powerful weed.

Encyclopedic in scope, the book is the first to cover North American weeds at every stage of growth. The book is organized by plant family, and more than five hundred species are featured. Each receives a two-page spread with images and text identification keys. Species are arranged within family alphabetically by scientific name, and entries include vital information on seed viability and germination requirements.

Whether you believe, like Donald Culross Peattie, that “a weed is a plant out of place,” or align with Elizabeth Wheeler Wilcox’s “weeds are but unloved flowers,” Dickinson and Royer provide much-needed background on these intrusive organisms. In the battle with weeds, knowledge truly is power. Weeds of North America is the perfect tool for gardeners, as well as anyone working in the business of weed ecology and control.

See sample pages from the book (PDF format).

656 pages | 1254 color plates, 26 halftones, 125 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2014

Biological Sciences: Botany, Ecology



“The encyclopedic Weeds of North America, by Richard Dickinson and France Royer, is going to have pride of place on my bedside table for years to come. It covers more than 600 species from 69 plant families at every stage of growth. Royer’s photographs are almost perversely alluring. . . . How can you not be ensnared by a book populated by prostrate pigweed, tansy ragwort and dog-strangling vine?”

New York Times Book Review

“Encyclopedic in scope, Dickinson and Royer’s Weeds of North America is the first to cover North American weeds at every stage of growth. Five hundred species are included, making this an essential reference for all who wish to understand the science of the all-powerful weed.”

James A. Baggett | Better Homes and Gardens

“Learning to identify various weeds at all stages of life will help you work quickly—and save you from yanking up a zinnia sprout because you think it’s knotweed. Our features and garden editor, Melissa Ozawa, often refers to Weeds of North America.”

Martha Stewart Living

“Beautiful color images. . . . This comprehensive identification guide will aid in weed ecology and control.”

Library Journal

“This work by plant taxonomist Dickinson and photographer Royer will be useful for botanists, range scientists, and other professionals; gardeners; and also concerned citizens, who play an increasingly active role in weed identification and control. The key to species is elegantly brief with thumbnail photos and a few words for demarcation; it is suitable for use by dedicated amateurs.”


“One of the best resources ever for those wishing to know their weeds.”

A Way to Garden

“An ambitious identification guide laid out in the clearest possible terms.”

Chicago Book Review

2015 Winner

American Horticultural Society Book Award

Weeds of North America offers excellent narratives and fantastic pictures of all growing stages of each weed assisting in identifying various species through numerous means. It is a very handy, easy-to-use guide with Quick identifications, descriptions, and color photos which will benefit field staff in accomplishing weed management programs.”

Jim Broatch, Pest Management Specialist and Jennifer Zuidhof, Cropping Systems Technician

Table of Contents

Abbreviations for Provincial and State Names
Plant Structures
Identification of Weed Species
Key to Trees and Shrubs
Key to Vines and Climbing Plants
Key to Herbaceous Land Plants
Key to Aquatic Plants
Key to Grasses and Grasslike Plants
Family and Species Descriptions
Illustration Credits
Index to Common and Scientific Names

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