Newcomb's Wildflower Guide (by Lawrence Newcomb) New York: Little, Brown and Co., 1977.

This pocket-sized guide is great for field identification and specializes in plants of north-eastern and north-central North America.  Its key system usually gets you to the right plant and the line drawings are more useful than photographs.  Because taxonomic fiddling is never ending, some of the Latin names have changed since the book was published in the 1970s, but this has been a reliable help for me on many hikes.

A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America (by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny) Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998.Another excellent field guide.  It uses a key system different than Newcomb and groups plants by blossom colour.  There are a few colour plates but most illustrations are line drawings.  Descriptions are concise but helpful.  Tips for separating easily confused species are included.  This is a reliable guide with a proven track record.

ROM Field Guide: Wildflowers of Ontario (by Timothy Dickinson, Deborah Metsger, Jenny Bull and Richard Dickinson)  Toronto:  McClelland and Stewart, 2004.
I like this guide better now than when I first saw it; however, it still has some limitations.  Good points: it uses keys for each family of plants and divides Ontario into different ecology regions so that ranges can be shown on a map.  Limitations: it uses photos for the plants and these are not always the best quality or they leave out key details such as leaf shape.  It often includes only 1 or 2 species in a genus and then describes 'related species' (sometimes with very small photographs).  Probably best used as a secondary guide.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers (Eastern Region) Revised edition. (by John W. Thieret)  New York;  Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.
This is my least favorite field guide.  The photos are excellent and grouped by flower colour, but they are all at the front and the text is at the back so there is a lot of flipping needed.  Although the photos are great to look at, they don't always capture key I.D. features.  Only common names are given as captions.  A lot of good plant information is included once you know what species you're looking at.

Trees in Canada (by John Laird Farrar) Markham: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1995.

This excellent guide covers all native trees in Canada as well as exotic species that have spread into the landscape (e.g., Buckthorn, Weeping Willow, Norway Maple, etc.)  There are also species that occupy that shadowy zone between shrub and tree depending on growing conditions (e.g., Sumac and Elderberry).  Each species has a detailed entry with line drawings, photographs, descriptions, range maps and quick recognition features.  Keys for groups of genera and winter twig identification are included. 

Shrubs of Ontario (by James H. Soper and Margaret L. Heimburger) Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1994.
Here is a thorough field guide for Ontario shrubs that includes large line drawings, range maps as well as general and genus keys.  It's useful for those just out for a stroll doing casual plant identification as well as for those of us determined to pin down the exact number of willow species growing in a marsh.  Each entry includes a "Field check" with a list of quick features to separate the plant from similar species.  At just under 500 pages it's a bit big to carry in your pocket, but it fits easily in a knapsack.

Weeds of Canada and Northern United States (by France Royer and Richard Dickinson)  Edmonton:  Lone Pine Publishing, 1999.

Use this guide to identify invasive or non-native plants.  The book has a strong agricultural emphasis, but it provides great information for what risks each species presents to native plant communities.  Seedling plants are also pictured ( a great help when weeding!)




     Butterflies of Ontario (by Peter W. Hall. Colin D. Jones, Antonia Guidotti and Brad Hubley)

  An excellent new guide that includes caterpillars and range maps


   Field Guide to Butterflies of North America  (by Jim Brock and Kenn Kaufman)

Excellent and easy to use