The Smithsonian Guide to Seaside Plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts
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This book is a treatment of seaside plants found on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, from the Texas-Louisiana border to Plum Island, Massachusetts, except for lower peninsular Florida. The preparatory study for the book began in 1975 and included an extensive four-year survey of plants of the Gulf of Mexico coast from the Rio Grande at the Texas-Mexico border to Levy County, Florida, and the Atlantic coast from Flagler Beach, Florida, to Quoddy Point, Maine, and the Atlantic Provinces, Canada, exclusive of Labrador. Such an extensive geographic scope seemed justified to us, since these areas exhibited a surprising homogeneity of plant species and an actual pancoastal continuum of remarkable number. The addition of lower peninsular Florida would have introduced a subtropical flora too different for compatability; Labrador presented a coastline too formidable and inaccessible for practical consideration. The study has required attention to several disciplines other than botany and photography. The roles of geology, climatology, and other field of natural history often explain the composition of plant communities and even relate them to other areas. Opening and closing of inlets, hurricanes, floods, fires, erosion, drought, and countless lesser natural phenomena can leave a record of vegetational alteration.