What I like about this tree guide: the page layouts, the photos, and the illustrations. (Every tree has a color drawing of a man figure standing next to a tree which is half-leaved, half barren, to show scale and branch structure.)
What's irritating: Some trees are identified by their common English and their Latin names, others only by their Latin names.The table of contents uses solely Latin (how does this help the average person??), as does the Identification Key.The index uses both English and Latin.I can't find cottonwood in the index, or anywhere in the book.(!)Cottonwoods are probably the largest trees where I live - that's me, standing at the base of this one:
and they have the most awesome bark.On large mature cottonwoods, unless your hands are the size of baked hams, you can stick your whole palm into its furrows:
The sweet gum page (which is an entire page; some trees only get 1/2 or 1/3 of a page) doesn't even have a photo of the sweet gum fruit, which is its most recognizable feature.(Trivia: the sweet gum fruit has been called Satan's Testes, and also Quaker Mistletoe.)
Certainly some fairly obscure trees are given space (the Syrian juniper, the Mount Etna Broom) at the expense of more common ones.On the plus side, I have learned that the fruit of the honey locust (that long, twisted brown hanging pod, which also fails to get a photo) contains a sweet, edible flesh.I'll have to try some in 2011.