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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 18, 2009

UI Press releases second edition of 'Wildflowers of Iowa Woodlands'

The second edition of "Wildflowers of Iowa Woodlands" by Sylvan T. Runkel and Alvin F. Bull -- the latest addition to the popular Bur Oak Guides series from the University of Iowa Press -- will become available on Jan. 4.

The book will be available at bookstores or directly from the UI Press, by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

The new edition of this classic volume of midwestern natural history features a new format and new photographs. Originally published in 1979, "Wildflowers of Iowa Woodlands" introduced many naturalists to the beauty and diversity of the native plants of the wooded communities that once covered more than 6 million acres of the state.

The species accounts are accompanied by full-page color photographs by Larry Stone, Thomas Rosburg, Carl Kurtz, and Linda and Robert Scarth.

In clear, straightforward prose, the authors provide common, scientific and family names; the Latin or Greek meaning of the scientific names; habitat and blooming times; and a complete description of plant, flower and fruit.

Also included is information on the many ways in which Native Americans and early pioneers used these plants for everything from pain relief to insecticides to tonics.

Iowa's original savannas, woodlands and forests were cleared with amazing thoroughness, yet enough beauty and diversity remain to give joy to hikers, birders and mushroomers. "Wildflowers of Iowa Woodlands" is intended to inspire both amateurs and professionals with the desire to learn more about the wonders of today's woodlands.

Thomas Rosburg of Drake University wrote, "In the tradition that only Sy Runkel can claim, 'Wildflowers of Iowa Woodlands' has long provided plant enthusiasts with identification tips, habitat affinities, Native American and pioneer uses, and general ethnobotanical folklore of frequently observed wildflowers in the Midwest.

"The species represent a broad range of wooded environments, including dry rocky or sandy woodlands, oak savannas, mesic forests, and swamps and floodplain forests. This revised edition, presented in a beautifully designed vertical format, has all-new color photographs and updated scientific names. It is a treasure chest of tidbits, a valuable companion for wandering naturalists and those family hikes in the woods. This is a book you'll find yourself using again and again."

Runkel (1906-1995) was the co-author of five books about midwestern wildflowers, including "Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie" and "Wildflowers and Other Plants of Iowa Wetlands." A vigorous promoter of conservation for many years, he was honored in 1996 by the dedication of the Sylvan Runkel State Preserve.

Bull (1925-1982) was the co-author of three books about midwestern wildflowers, including "Wildflowers of Indiana Woodlands" and "Wildflowers of Illinois Woodlands." He was vice-president of Farm Progress Companies and editorial director for the Indiana Prairie Farmer, Prairie Farmer, Wallaces Farmer and the Wisconsin Agriculturist.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Allison Means, UI Press,; Winston Barclay, University News Services, 319-384-0073,