Plant Life of Western Australia by John Beard 2015 edition, edited by A.S. George and N. Gibson.
Since 1990 when John Beard’s Plant Life of Western Australia was first published, it has been an indispensable part of my trips around the state and I suspect with many other plant lovers and those who want to understand the vegetation along with the flora and landscapes of Western Australia.
John Beard’s book is an amazing summation of his work across a third of Australia all done in the days before computerisation and air-conditioned four wheel drive vehicles.
Unfortunately the book has been out of print for many years and this has been a source of frustration to many. Fortunately this has been remedied with the publication of a second edition of Plant Life Of Western Australia with Alex George and Neil Gibson as editors. They have made few changes in this new edition, keeping to the spirit of John Beard and the changes they have made are explained in their preface. In appendices they have named where possible the people in the photos and in another, plant name changes adopted for this edition. An index of place names is also included after the main index. There was one printing error with captions missing from four photos. A loose leaf errata has remedied this.
Whilst the Department of Parks and Wildlife published an updated Vegetation Map of WA in October 2013, this was based on John Beard’s initial work and his “Plant Life” is as relevant today as when it first came out. It is very fitting that the state’s floral emblem Anigozanthos manglesii has been used to illustrate the front cover of this new edition.
I very much welcome this new edition and I am sure it will become a useful addition to many people’s travels. It is so much more useful in the field than sitting on a book shelf.
– Brian Moyle