Classic guide to native grasses and plants enhanced and updated
HAYS -- Fort Hays State University (FHSU) has announced the Second Edition of Pasture and Range Plants, a classic guide to plant life in the North American Plains ecosystem. This invaluable guide has been completely revised by the FHSU Alumni Association, custodians of the book, and Dr. Robert A. Nicholson, professor of biological sciences at the university.

The first edition was compiled by Fort Hays State University with the help of the Phillips Petroleum Co., which donated the material and artwork. That edition was successfully reprinted 12 times.

"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 to increase practical knowledge of range plants. It has been recognized as one of the finest contributions to understanding rangeland management."

Because the original publications were so popular and supplies became exhausted, the booklets were consolidated into a single hard-bound volume in 1963, which was published by Phillips through the mid-70s. Former FHSU President Gerald "Jerry" W. Tomanek, a biologist by training and an internationally recognized authority on pasture and rangeland, recognized the importance and value of a comprehensive resource on Great Plains plants 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.

After introductory explanations of root systems and parts of grass plants, the main body is divided into sections on 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. The cover's colorful collage of flowers and 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 yet 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 a fitting legacy to Jerry Tomanek," said Dr. Edward Hammond, FHSU president. "But it's more. It's FHSU's way of reinforcing the importance of grasslands and plants that support the Great Plains."

Copies of Pasture and Range Plants can be purchased for $25 from the Fort Hays State University Alumni Association, Robbins Center, One Tiger Place, Hays, KS 67601-3767, online at , or by phone, 785-628-4430.