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In this work it has been the Author's wish to adopt in all cases those names which have the claim of priority, unless good cause could be shown for a contrary proceeding, and with this object he has carefully examined nearly all the best European Floras, comparing our plants with the descriptions contained in them, and in very many cases with foreign specimens of undoubted authenticity. In the adoption of genera and species an endeavour has been made, by the examination of the plants themselves, to determine what are to be considered as truly distinct, thus, it is hoped, taking Nature as a guide, and not depending upon the authority of any name, however distinguished. Still let it not be supposed that any claim is made to peculiar accuracy, nor that the Author considers himself qualified to dictate to any student of botany, for he is well aware that there are many points upon which persons who have carefully studied the subject may form different conclusions from those to which he has been led.
The present volume being intended to form a field-book
or travelling companion for botanists, it was advisable to restrict the space allotted to each species as much as possible, and accordingly it will be found that the characters and observations are only such as appeared to be necessary for their accurate discrim ation. Synonyms have been almost wholly omitted, but at least one British and one German figure of each plant is quoted in all cases in which it could be done with accuracy. Localities are only given for new or rare plants, the existence of so complete a work as Mr. Watson's New Botanist's Guide having made it unnecessary inconveniently to swell the present volume by their introduction; but in order to convey some idea of the distribution of plants throughout the United Kingdom, the letters E., S., and I. have been appended to the descriptions of such species as have, it is believed, been only found in England, Scotland, or Ireland respectively, all plants without such an addition having been observed in each of them. An O. has been appended to a very few plants which only occur in the Channel Islands, or which, although included in our lists, there is reason to suppose have never been really detected in Britain, thus pointing out that they have little or no right to be considered as natives or even denizens. The descriptions of a considerable number of doubtful species which have been added to our Flora by previous writers, or which, although decidedly naturalized, have very slender claims to be considered as aboriginal natives, are included within [ ], and notices of a few plants concerning which more accurate information is requisite are distinguished in a similar manner. A very concise Synopsis of the genera, according to the Linnæan method, is given for the convenience of those botanists who may not be quite familiar with the Natural Orders.
Dr. Lindley's valuable Vegetable Kingdom being accessible to nearly all the readers of this little work, it has not been
considered advisable to introduce detailed descriptions of the Orders; but in the preparation of the short distinctive characters the author has availed himself of that work, of Dr. Arnott's elaborate treatise contained in the Encyclop. Britan. (ed. 7. vol. v. pp. 30-141), of Endlicher's Genera Plantarum and Koch's Synopsis Flora Germanicæ. To the latter work, which may be considered as the model of the present publication, he has pleasure in acknowledging himself to be peculiarly indebted.
To Prof. Balfour, W. Borrer, Esq., E. Forster, Esq., Prof. Henslow, the Rev. W. A. Leighton, and his other botanical friends and correspondents too numerous to record here, he takes this opportunity of returning most sincere thanks for the great assistance that they have rendered to him by the communication of valuable suggestions, observa-` tions, and specimens.
To the present edition a condensed Synopsis of the Natural Orders is added, and the whole work has been carefully revised, so as, if possible, to keep pace with the rapidly advancing knowledge of British plants.
The portability of the volume being one of its most valuable qualities, it has been found impossible to accord to the wishes of some young botanists by prefixing to it a short Introduction to Botany, or a Glossary of botanical terms ; since sufficient space could not have been afforded to them to admit of their possessing that fullness and detail without which they would be worse than useless. Students are recommended to make themselves well acquainted with the contents of some good introductory work, such as Lindley's Introduction, Henfrey's Outlines, A. Gray's Botanical TextBook, or especially the Botanique of M. A. de Jussieu. A good Glossary is expected from the pen of Dr. Lindley.
It is hoped that those who use this book will favour the author with information of any (even the slightest) addi
tion, correction or alteration that may appear to be necessary, in order that it may be employed in the preparation of a future edition, as it is only through such assistance that the Flora of an extensive country can attain to even a moderate degree of perfection.
St. John's College, Cambridge,