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[Plant-education] Botany text summary

Fisher, Roxanne RFisher at Chatham.edu
Fri Dec 2 13:24:28 EST 2005

Dear Plant-ed folks:


Here's a summary of the responses I got to my request on botany
textbooks.  I didn't include Linda Graham's book in my original list
because it is aimed at non-majors, not biology majors.  I saw Linda and
her former student Martha Cook at BSA and talked to them about the book.
They said although it is designed for non-majors and based on Linda's
non-majors course at U of Wisconsin, the publisher doesn't publicize it
as a non-majors book.  Of course this was after I had already chosen
Levetin and McMahon for my first year science course!  Next time I will
be using Linda's book for that course.  Thanks for all of your input!  I
chose Raven for my course next semester, partly because I do think it is
the best fit for my course, and partly because I'm up for tenure next
year, and staying with the same book will save me some time on teaching
that I can use for other things I need to get done.





I like Nabors.  It is relatively easy to read, and it has an appropriate
amount of detail for lower-level undergraduates.  I take issue with some
of his classifications, if I recall.  Additionally, it has a fair amount
of errors.  Since it is in the first edition, I overlooked the errors
and corrected them whenever possible.  I think it has potential to be a
great textbook for lower level undergrads.


Moore et al. is out of print, as far as I know (since about 5 years
ago!).  I liked it so much that when it was discontinued, I told my
McGraw-Hill sales rep that I would not use any botany books from them
again.  Since their main botany text is Stern (see below), it hasn't
been too difficult to follow through on that promise.


Stern is too babyish.  I used it once because it was chosen by others
for my class.


I used Mauseth once, but if I remember, the students found it to be not
particularly readable.  The photos are quite good.


Raven et al. was my book as an undergrad.  I love it, and think it is
ideal for those who will go on in botany.  I find it too encyclopedic
for typical undergrads.  The diversity section is excellent.


I haven't taken a good look at Uno's text.



I used Linda Berg's (Saunders) text a few years ago, and found it to be
too light.


Linda Graham also has a text (Pearson/Prentice-Hall), that has slightly
more ecology than the others do.





Douglas P. Jensen

Department of Biology







At this regional campus of Ohio State University I have been using
Stern's Introductory Plant Biology since the 4th Ed.  [It is now in the
10th Ed.}  I chose it primarily for its treatment of plant life cycles
which are part of the second quarter of our two-quarter course for
NON-MAJORS.  I like the way the life cycles are drawn... on a uniform
format that is less confusing for students.  There are other nice
features, too.


Having said all that, one of my students in 101 just last evening (our
last class) said he had never read the textbook this quarter and
wondered if he should buy the textbook for 102 next quarter.  He seemed
relieved when I told him we would be using the same book.  Will he read
it?  Do today's students ever read a textbook unless we contrive
scavenger hunt exercises that force them to look through the text?  Sad!
I hope it would be different for your majors.  Why would students pay
such high prices for textbooks then never read them?


I have looked at all the other books on your list and even reviewed
portions of some of them.  I think all of them are quite good, including
the text by Graham, Graham, and Wilcox mentioned by Jim Perry.  We
botanists are very lucky to have such good authors and publishers.




PS  For more info about the 101-102 courses here you can visit the web







I didn't think Mauseth was as good on diversity, which is half our
semester - not as up to date on nomenclature. I agree about his photos.
I thought I would like M. better than I did! I noticed someone mentioned
Graham, Graham, and Wilcox. If I were going for that level, I would pick
it over Stern, as I think it is much better on evolution, but our
students are majors and I figure they can deal with Raven (or Mauseth).




Hi Roxanne! Your Botany course would appear to have a similar student
composition to the one I teach. Sadly, we have no Botany majors, but
every year I teach a mix of upper level bio majors, environmental
studies majors, and science education majors. I've found Raven et al to
be too dense for most of this crowd (with the exception of the few who
are real botanists with chlorophyll in their veins). Stern was too
simplistic (better for non-science majors) and Uno was OK. I've been
happy with Mauseth, and REALLY loved Moore, Clark & Vodopovich, but was
under the impression that has been discontinued. I don't think I've seen
the Nabors book. I did just discover a new one, Plant Biology by Rost,
Barbour, Stocking & Murphy, which I have chosen to adopt for next
semester. I was particularly impressed with several graphics that did a
great job explaining challenging concepts (e.g. how the vascular cambium
works),the overall quality of the microscopy images,  it's up to date
treatment of phylogenetic relationships for each group within the
chapters on diversity, and excellent coverage of growth and development.
It's detailed, but not verbose, and has some good sidebars. I adopted it
without getting feedback from anyone (good idea to user this list
serve!), so if anyone tells you they hated it, please let me know!


Good Luck!






Hi Roxanne,


There is also the second edition of Graham, Graham and Wilcox, Plant
Biology that I don't know much about except that it was adopted by my
colleagues at SIU.  Perhaps you already reviewed it and decided against


Wil Taylor



Roxanne et al. - In addition to a textbook, you might think about having
students read Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire.  It is an excellent
supplementary source in a General Botany course.  The cost is low -
$14.00.  And as the book says, it presents a "plant's-eye view of the
world" which I've found very useful for botany students. 

Best wishes-

Mary Ann Vinton

Associate Professor

Dept. Biology

Creighton University



I think you may have missed one, Jennifer: Plant Biology by Graham,
Graham, and Wilcox, 2nd edition, Pearson-Prentice Hall. I would say it
is comparable to Stern in many respects. The first edition had
spectacular animations, but the 2nd lacks them. Pearson will send the
old CD and a new set of animations for anyone who asks (at least they
sent it to me when I complained).


Ray Evert was my major prof and Susan Eichhorn (note spelling) a
colleague. Their new edition has the best illustrations of any book I
have ever seen. Students find the reading very dense. I have told Ph.D.
students preparing for their qualifiers to read it.


Jim Perry

Campus Executive Officer and Dean

Professor of Biological Sciences

UW-Fox Valley

Menasha, Wisconsin 52952





Roxanne Fisher (rfisher at chatham.edu)

Assistant Professor of Biology

Buhl Hall

Chatham College

Woodland Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15232




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