Lorena's Note: This letter was sent to us a very long time ago (pre-email!). Although the details on the books is dated, the books can still be found and will still be of value to anyone interested in the flowers and trees of Mexico. If you have any other recommendations, please email us.
We have been looking for books on Mexican Flora. The Flora is so beautiful and interesting, but there does not seem to be much available to help in identifying them.
We have found;
TROPICAL BLOSSOMS OF THE CARIBBEAN, and TROPICAL TREES AND TROPICAL BLOSSOMS OF THE CARIBBEAN. These are both by Dorothy & Bob Hargraves published by Ross-Hargraves, PO Box 29, Kula, Hawaii 96790-0029 These are well done books with lots of beautiful pictures. They both list the different plants alphabetically and are very good if you know the name of a plant. If you do not them you just have to look page by page and hope you can find what you want. These a very inexpensive books, in Mexico, and seem to be "in print".
A FLOWER LOVER'S GUIDE TO MEXICO by Phil Clark and published by Editorial MINUTIAE MEXICANA, S.A. de C.V., Insurgents Centro 114-207, 06030 Mexico, D.F. Tel. (5)535-9488 They also publish a number of other books about Mexican butterflies & moths, bird watchers guides, etc. This book seems to be in print and probably sells for about 50 pesos This is a well written book with some color plates but most of the pictures are in black & white. The book does have an advantage over the two books above in that it catagorizes the plants, i.e. Native Bulbs, Cacti & other Succulents, Trees & Shrubs, etc.
EXOTIC PLANTS by Julia F. Morton, published by Golden Press, Western Publishing Co., inc. and was published in 1971 and is probably not "in print". However it is probably available from some used book store for a cost of about 150 pesos. This book was not written for Mexico but a great number of the plants covered are to be found in Mexico. This is more of what you would call a "field guide". It has a section of plant identification, classification, etc. The plants are then shown in "family" listings. The plates are in color but are not very good quality. The best thing about this book is that by looking at the characteristics you can then identify a plant.
A HANDBOOK OF MEXICAN ROADSIDE FLORA by Charles T. Mason Jr. & Patricia B. Mason it was published by The University of Arizona Press and is "out of print". However the copy we have is in new condition and we recently purchased it from a used book store for $ 25.00 USD. Review by Carl Franz
This is probably the best book we have for locating and identifying plants. The descriptions are very detailed and are listed by families. The only draw back is that the illustrations are all in black & white. Even so it still seems to be the best.
MEXICAN FLOWERING TREES & PLANTS by Helen O'Gorman, published in 1961 by AMMEX ASSOCIADOS RIO AMAZONAS, 90 MEXICO CITY. At the time it was published (1961) the cost was 187.50 pesos and is a large "coffee table" type book. It is "out of print" but probably available at used book stores.
The "Roadside Flora" book seems to be the best for identifying, but this is without a doubt the prettiest. This book contains over 200 beautiful reproductions of Mrs. O'Gormans water colors. She was called by the Chicago Tribune " Mexico's wildflower Audubon". In 1953 the Mexican government honored her with a exhibition of her works at the National Palace of fine Arts. Her paintings were praised not only for their looks but also for the excellent details of her subjects. This book might not help you identify plants as they are listed alphabetically but you will certainly enjoy just looking at the pictures