In Defense of Plaints

On the Origins and History of Field Guides

Listen to the In Defense of Plants episode 262 to learn about the origins and history of field guides.

The first field guides were created to help identify plants. However, this information should be of interest to anyone who uses a field guide (even on online bird guide) to identify anything, including birds.

From the podcast’s description:

Episode 262 of the In Defense of Plants podcast takes a look at the world of field guides with science historian Dr. Sara Scharf.

Field guides began as a tool for botanists to better understand the plants in their region but they have since grown to encompass all forms of life.

Learn how some of the most iconic figures in the world of biology had a hand in refining field guides as a tool and even how the need for education following the French Revolution drove them to become readily accessible to the public.

You will be surprised just how important the field of botany has been in developing everything from libraries and index cards to modern database management algorithms.

The In Defense of Plants website and podcast are a product of biologist Matt. He is available for speaking events, tours, hikes, interviews, etc. He can be contacted at

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