After seven printings, classic guide gets facelift
HAYS -- Fort Hays State University has announced the Second Edition of Pasture and Range Plants, a highly popular and valuable guide to plant life in the Great Plains. The first edition was compiled by Fort Hays State University (FHSU) with the help of the Phillips Petroleum Co., which donated the material and artwork. That edition was so popular it was reprinted twelve times.

This invaluable guide to plants of the plains has been revised by the FHSU Alumni Association, custodians of the book, and Dr. Robert A. Nicholson, professor of biological sciences at FHSU.

"The material for this book was originally published as a series of six separate booklets beginning in 1955," said Nicholson. "The company distributed about 900,000 booklets free to the public. The booklets were aimed at increasing practical knowledge of range plants. Because they were so popular and supplies became exhausted, the booklets were consolidated into a single hard-bound volume in 1963, which was printed seven times, the last in 1980."

Former FHSU President Gerald "Jerry" W. Tomanek, a biologist and an internationally-recognized authority on pasture and rangeland, saw the importance and value of a comprehensive resource on the plants of the Great Plains and was instrumental in obtaining the original art collection and copyrights for FHSU.

The second edition includes digitally-remastered plant illustrations reviewed by leading experts in the field of biological sciences and provides a review of important Great Plains plant species. It has been recognized as one of the finest contributions to understanding rangeland management.

After introductory explanations of root systems and the parts of grass plants, the main body is divided into sections entitled "Grasses," "Legumes," "Forbs," and "Woody Plants and Miscellaneous Poisonous Plants." A bibliography and two indices -- one by scientific name and one by common name -- are also included. From the black and gold cover in the first edition to the colorful collage of flowers covering the face of the second edition, the updated names of plants and the crisper, more vibrant plant illustrations bring the second edition to life.

"In revising the text, I wanted to include up-to-date information but retain as much of the original essence as possible," said Nicholson. "The original text was written to be practical, and it included descriptions, livestock and wildlife recommendations, distribution information, and some cultural facts presented with minimal technical jargon."

"This book is more than a fitting legacy to Jerry Tomanek," said Dr. Edward Hammond, president of FHSU. "It's Fort Hays' way of reinforcing the importance of grasslands and plants that support the Great Plains ecosystem."

To purchase more copies of Pasture and Range Plants, contact the Fort Hays State University Alumni Association online at www.fhsu.edu/alumni/plantbook.shtml, or phone 785-628-4430 or toll-free 1-888-351-3591.