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Book Review

Australian Plants: The P.L. Ant Guide - Helen Hunt

Reviewed by Jan Sked

Book cover

Every so often a surprising little treasure comes my way, and this little book is one of them.

Initially, I think it would have been written for older children, but the information it contains provides a unique introduction to Australian native plants for both young and old. Members new to our world of native plants will find it a joyful and simply written guide to accurate basic information about our native plants - a starting point before moving on to more technical publications.

The major plant genera are covered with a summary of the basics for each plant - a general description, uses, habitat, flowers, seeds, leaves, bark etc. - all illustrated with Helen's delightful drawings. As well as the more common genera, there are notes on carnivorous plants, Christmas plants, desert plants, ferns, grasses, poisonous plants, medicinal plants, bush tucker, orchids, palms, introduced plants, weeds and much more.

Common names are used throughout the book, which I find a little disappointing, as I would like to have seen more emphasis on botanical names. However, where a genus is referred to by its botanical name, it is good to see that a pronunciation guide is included.

The quirky little character called "P.L.Ant" guides the reader through this book and he is to be found with every illustration - providing additional interest for young minds who will love to seek him out.

The author has written and illustrated many books on Australian wildlife, children's and adult stories, as well as an educational language/natural science kit for schools. For anyone wishing to introduce their children or grandchildren to native plants, this would be the ideal book and, as I stated previously, adults who are new to the world of Australian native plants will also find it a good introduction.

Australian Plants: The P.L. Ant Guide

Helen Hunt
Bloomings Books, Richmond, Victoria, 2006.
RRP $17.95
Paperback, 109 pages, black and white illustrations

From the newsletter of the Society for Growing Australian Plants (Queensland), March 2007.

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Australian Plants online - 2007
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants