Charles C. Deam Flora of Indiana

ISBN 13: 9781930665590

Flora of Indiana

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Flora of Indiana (hereafter, the Flora). Published in 1940, with reprintings in 1970 and 1984, the Flora has served as the standard by which other state floras must be compared. Now over 60 years old, it has clearly withstood the test of time, and continues to be a primary source of information for any serious student of field botany. Deam insisted upon the highest standards for his work, and strove to make the Flora as accurate as possible. That was clearly the policy when considering a species for inclusion in the book; it was his rule that every species included must be vouched for by at least one collected specimen. He examined over 84,000 specimens in preparation for the book, and from these he prepared keys, species accounts, and range maps showing species’ occurrence by county. Although these maps reflect the knowledge only as it existed in 1940, they continue to be useful today in determining a species’ general range in the state. This is especially helpful for the beginner, or one not familiar with Indiana's flora, as it can reduce the field of options when trying to determine an unknown plant's identity. Flora continues to be one of the first choices to consult when gathering information on wild plants. However, the utility of the Flora extends beyond species identification, range, and habitat. In our efforts to protect Indiana's natural landscape we often find ourselves retracing the Deam's footsteps. In one example, information found in the Flora account of bog bluegrass (Poa paludigina) revealed the existence of an unusual habitat for southern Indiana, resulting in the discovery not only of the rare bluegrass, but a site that would become a state-dedicated nature preserve. Information in the Flora has also been very useful in the restoration of landscapes. Because Deam collected plants in every township of the state, we have an excellent record of what occurred in an area historically. This has been especially helpful when attempting to restore areas that no longer possess their native vegetation. A prime example involves an area in Daviess County, Indiana, where a major restoration project conducted by the Division of Nature Preserves has relied heavily on the Flora and Deam's plant collection for guidance. Landscape restorationists throughout the state would do well by utilizing the Flora in similar fashion. Flora is clearly more than a list of plants. Many treasures are found within its pages, ranging from topics on early 20th century agrarian culture to herbal cures. There are frequent references to discussions with "old timers," including some of whom were the first European settlers in the state. Also mentioned are accounts of Deam's own early activities on the family farm, such as when he used scissors to cut cockle and rye in a wheat field, or pulled common purslane by the bushel and fed it to the hogs. From the preface to this reprinting by Dr. Michael Homoya, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves.

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About the Author:

"ll leave my obituary in the books I create." Charles C. Deam (1865-1953) Prophetic to his word, the books of Charles Clemon Deam – or simply "Charlie" as he was known to his friends – do indeed reveal much about the man. A druggist, forester, and botanist from Bluffton, Indiana, Charlie Deam was meticulous, opinionated, studious, disciplined, driven, and even, shall we say, eccentric. Simply put, he was a character. But that character produced a collection of some of the most thorough botanical works ever published. From the preface to this reprinting by Dr. Michael Homoya, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves.

Review:

I never had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Deam I was born the year that he died but I often sense his presence whenever I see one of his plant specimens, retrace his footsteps into a natural area, or better yet, open a copy of the Flora. It should come as no surprise that I have a special reverence for the man and his work. Thus it brings me great pleasure that the Flora is available again, allowing others to share in the pursuit of understanding, and ultimately the appreciation and protection of our native plants and natural areas. So whether you re a professional botanist, ecologist, teacher, wildflower enthusiast, naturalist, forester, wildlife biologist, soil scientist, landscape architect, horticulturist, or just someone wanting to know what that plant is in your backyard, this book is for you. --Michael Homoya, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves

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