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An interactive guide to the woody plants
of the Majella National Park (C Italy)

Giampiero Ciaschetti, Pier Luigi Nimis, Stefano Martellos, Luciano Di Martino, Mirella Di Cecco, Maria Peroni, Teodoro Andrisano.

Images by Andrea Moro

This is the English version of a guide to the woody plants of the Majella National Park in Central Italy, our answer to a common question from visitors: 'How can we know the names of the myriad of plants we see when hiking, camping, or just observing nature?'
The identification of plants is often a matter for experts, because most of the 'professional' identification keys rely on the hierarchical scheme of biological classification. One has to start with a key to families, go on with a key to genera within a family, and finally proceed with a key to species within a genus. But the characters that distinguish families or genera are often 'difficult', many of them can be appreciated with a stereomicroscope.
Our guide is based on easily observable characters, illustrated by pictures and/or drawings created by Andrea Moro. It can be used by persons which approach the identification of plants for the first time.
Our guide is 'easy', but is made with scientific rigour. It includes all species and subspecies of woody plants (trees, shrubs, and woody climbers), which occur in the wild, plus some of the most common alien plants used for reforestation. The Italian version has a taxon page for each species, reporting common names, synonyms, morphology, distribution, ecology and uses in the local tradition. The English version is still devoid of this info.
The guide was created in collaboration with the European project KeyToNature (www.keytonature.eu), coordinated by the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Trieste (www.dryades.eu), with support from the Abruzzo Region (Regional Law 35/97 for 'Protection of plant biodiversity and management of gardens and botanical gardens').

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