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Plant Information
Identification and Cultivation

See also: Botany, Native Plants, Trees and Cooperative Extension Services.

Google For Gardeners

This is a Google Custom Search engine for Gardeners where dot coms are weeded out and sites, blogs and forums that share information are featured. It searches 235 sites and is good for plant cultivation information.


Selected Books

American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Rev. Ed.
rq SB403.2.A45 2004
A beautifully illustrated, authoritative guide to over 15,000 garden plants-annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, trees and more.
American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia Of Gardening
rq SB450.95.A45 2003
In addition to information on design, cultivation, plant care, selecting plants, pruning, protecting plants from weather, definitions of different plant varieties, and information on plant propagation, there are also sections on lawns, indoor gardening, and container gardening.
Coombes, Allen J.
The A to Z of Plant Names: A Quick Reference Guide to 4000 Garden Plants
QK96.C78 2012
Find out where common garden plants came from, who discovered them and how they got their names.
Gardiner, Jim
The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs: More Than 1700 Outstanding Garden Plants
q SB435.G378 2011
Written by an Englishman, the entries are quite short but all illustrated with striking photos so it is a nice volume to browse through. Some of the cultivars might be harder to find in the U.S.
Northeastern Garden Book (Sunset)
q SB453.2.N82N67 2001x
An encyclopedia of plants and gardening for the Northeastern United States, including Pennsylvania.

Browse the Catalog

For additional titles, browse the library catalog under the general subjects:

Or under the specific plant (you might have to do a keyword search to discover the appropriate term):


Web Sites

  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Gardening
    The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is famous for its gardening booklets. Online they have plenty of information for the gardener arranged in broad topics of Gardening Techniques, Garden Design, Great Plants, Gardening for Wildlife, Wildflower Gardening, Kitchen Gardening, Indoor Gardening, Urban Gardening, Garden Botany, Ecology for Gardeners, Plant Conservation, Pest Alerts!
  • Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest
    Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest is an interactive guide that is specific to the upper Midwest United States (hardiness zones 3, 4 and 5), providing complete and accurate information on more than 600 species and varieties common to this region. This is useful for Pittsburgh which is zones 4-5.
  • New Jersey Weed Gallery
    a collection of photos and descriptions of agricultural weeds found in New Jersey from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Common weeds of New Jersey (pretty much the same as grow in Western Pennsylvania).
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Urban Horticulture
    Plant Fact Sheets
    Over 4000 fact sheets on specific plants. Click on alphabetical listing by common or scientific name.
  • Perennial Resource
    This website, which includes an encyclopedia of 1,800 new and classic perennials, is from Walters Gardens, Inc., a wholesale perennial grower located in Zeeland, Michigan.
  • Plant Facts
    PlantFacts has merged several digital collections developed at Ohio State University to become an international knowledge bank and multimedia learning center. Includes the Plant Dictionary, a searchable database of 1,071 high quality images and horticultural descriptions for 591 selected ornamental plants. You can search for specific plants by their scientific name (genus and species), family name, or common name.
  • USDA Plants Database
    The PLANTS database contains native and naturalized vascular plants of the U.S. including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and native and naturalized mosses, lichens, and hepatics (liverworts and hornworts) of North America. PLANTS also has about 2200 vascular plants that do not grow naturally in the U.S. but are of general economic or botanic interest. PLANTS does not contain common garden plants or plants that occur only outside the U.S.
  • UC Davis: Identification: Weed Photo Gallery
    Although the weeds are somewhat different in Pittsburgh, many of them are the same and this guide should help you identify them. Then you can pull them out and compost them or cover them with mulch. You don't have to use herbicides.