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Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province.
William W. Dunmire and Gail D. Tierney. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press. 1995. xiii + 290 pp. ISBN 0-89013-272-0.

The Pueblo Province is a sociologically defined area that consists of the classic Pueblo tribal lands in the upper Rio Grande region of New Mexico. Geographically it covers part of the northwest part of the state from Isleta south of Albuquerque west to Zuni and north to Taos. In addition to the pueblos in the area, the region includes an impressive number of parks and monuments such as Chaco Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, Petroglyph National Monument, Coronado State Monument, and Jemez State Monument.

The authors originally conceived this book as a guide to the wildflowers of this region, but soon became fascinated with the history of the area, the indigenous uses of the plants found there, and the topographical and vegetative diversity of the region. As a consequence, the book consists of chapters on diversity, the ancient Puebloans, the impact of the Conquest, and the modern inhabitants of the region and their effects on the landscape. A thousand plants occur in this region and 300 of them are known to have been used by local people at one time or another. Sixty of the most commonly used plants are featured in this work. The arrangement of the plants treated might be confusing to some readers, as the authors have chosen to group plants by habit, and within habit, in phylogenetic order. However, most lay people are not familiar with the phylogenetic order followed by taxonomists, and the placement of some plants (such as yucca and cholla with shrubs, but the prickly pears wi th herbs) is also confusing. For each species, the common names, habit, often a major physical character important for identification, and uses are given. The illustrations and photographs of the region, artifacts, and every plant treated in detail are beautiful and abundant. For people visiting the area who would like to learn about the rich history of the Province and the identities and uses of many of the plants they will see while traveling, this book will be a delightful companion.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Beryl Simpson