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Handbook of Edible Weeds.
James A. Duke. 1992. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press. Hardcover. 246 pp. ISBN 0-84934225-2.

This book constitutes another in a series of highly useful publications from the prolific Jim Duke, the most knowledgeable plant botanist at the United States Department of Agriculture. The present volume is a culmination of five years of data gathering by Dr. Duke on various edible herbaceous plants. Listed in this book are numerous edible plants, plus two indixes, plant name index (including common and Latin names) and general index. Included with each plant are black and white line drawings, about half of which were drawn by the botanist's wife, Peggy, who holds a masters degree in botany and often provides illustrations for Duke's works. Under each plant, Duke gives a detailed botanical description, geographical distribution of the plant, and the plant's utility This last section, Utility, contains the "meat" of this volume. In the typical Duke eclectic fashion, he mixes edible, medicinal, and other interesting facts on each herb. The text also includes a number of first-per son anecdotes and comments which give this book an exceptionally readable and interesting style.

As more and more herb enthusiasts, wild food foragers, and aspiring herbalists become increasingly interested in the edible and medicinal properties of wild plants, an authoritative book from an expert like Dr. Duke becomes a welcome and essential addition to almost anyone's library.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.