In search of a good perennials reference or “Dirr for herbaceous plants”

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PLANTS & HORTICULTURE In search of a good perennials reference or “Dirr for herbaceous plants”

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    With the knowledge that there are probably about a million different species of herbaceous plants out there (not to mention their cultivars), I’m looking for a good industry-grade reference specifically for perennials. I’m a big fan of Dirr and Hightshoe for trees and shrubs but have had difficulty finding an equivalent in the single-authored variety. Another key feature would be sketches for use in the field as well.


    Any ideas or suggestions?


    P.S. Has anyone had any experience with Steven Still’s Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants?


    I don’t yet own an authoritative perennials reference, but always assumed that the equivalent of Dirr for perennials was Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on Their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes by Allan Armitage.  It’s been on my list for quite a while.

    william martin

    Any books by the late Graham Stuart Thomas.” Perennial garden Plants” or the modern florilegium is THE Bible in my book (pardon the pun)

    Jordan Lockman

    If you liked Dirr’s “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants”than you will like the “Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants” by Stil. It is laid out the same and is almost identical(It is the equivalent of Dirr’s book in the herbaceous world; annuals, bulbs, etc too). Not a lot of color photos just like Dirr’s book, but really an exhaustive reference that is valuable to have at your desk.

    I also have some local books that has a local take on perennials check your state Horticultural Society.




    Thanks all for the suggestions. Coincidentally, I currently work at a nursery and find local wholesale catalogs to be very helpful, though some are more informative than others. I will check out Still and Armitage for sure. Too bad so few include more than a couple hundred color plates.

    Lori Molitor

    Not 100% relevant, but have you seen the Dirr iphone app?  I really like it; it is so much easier to carry around than the paper volume.

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