Rick Van de Poll
Department of Environmental Studies
Identifying non-flowering flora often requires the use of field and reference resources/guides. Utilizing these resources for identification and research purposes can result in stacks of texts to obtain complete, comprehensive and up-to-date morphology, taxonomy, and illustrations. However, with the utilization of desktop publishing software programs, optical reading scanners, natural history illustration, and research, universities can maintain up-to-date reference and resource guides that are specific to their geographical area or interest. A Quick Reference Guide to the Families of the Ferns and Allies of Northeast was produced through the collaborative efforts of an Antioch New England Graduate School professor and a graduate student. Its purpose is to provide a reference to the basic morphology of Pteridophyte. Identifying everything north of Delaware, east of Ohio, and south of Canada, the guide summarizes the new nomenclature and morphology behind it for the northeastern United States. Four classes, fourteen families and thirty-three genera are covered, representing ninety-nine species in the northeast. The guide provides detailed illustrations for identification, inset details of key characteristics, and pertinent data to help the reader classify non-flowering plants by family and genus. The guide required new illustrations for thirty-nine genera. This was accomplished by studying live or pressed specimens, photographs, and reviewing the work of other known illustrators in botanical illustration. Accompanying each genera illustration are one or two inset drawings to provide indentifying features on a larger scale. A total of 77 illustrations were rendered. The taxonomy for the genera was compiled by a number of individuals, including Antioch students. The taxonomy for Lycopodiaceae was assigned to the graduate student producing the illustrations and final text. This graduate student also compiled the text for the table of contents, index, common names and glossary of terms. The final draft was designed on a Macintosh Quadra 650 computer utilizing three software programs: Adobe Photoshop, PageMaker Desktop Publishing, and Microsoft Works. Text typed into Microsoft Works was imported to PageMaker. Utilizing Adobe Photoshop, all the illustrations were scanned and imported into PageMaker. The original intent of the reference guide was to augment classroom text to aid students in their efforts to indentify non-flowering plants. Antioch now maintains in-house the most up-to-date reference guide in non-flowering flora. Since it is housed internally and can be updated by students and faculty, this guide offers a new opportunity for universities to provide to their students the most current trends in botanical thinking. Therefore, for the next 12 months, students in Antioch’s Non-flower plant class and other botanical courses that would benefit from this resource, will field test the guide. At the end of that period, it will be reviewed, updated and published.