RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

Editor-in-chief Christopher Brickell.

If I want to identify a plant that I have seen somewhere this is the book I turn to. It has sat on my bookshelf for over twenty years and has been referred to on numerous occasions.
The book is in two main sections; the Plant Catalogue and the Plant Directory. There you will find photographs, descriptions and cultivation advice for thousands of plants.

Illustration from the RHS encyclopedia.

The Plant Catalogue has 4,000 plants divided into groups: Trees; Shrubs; Roses; Climbers; Perennials and many, many more. If you know a plant but cannot recall its name, have a specimen that you want to identify, or simply wish to choose plants for your garden based on their size or colouring, the plant catalogue is the place to start.

The headings on each page reflect the way in which each plant group is subdivided – usually by size and main season of interest. Colour photographs assist in the identification and selection of plants.

The Plant Directory contains entries on every genus in the Catalogue section and expands on the information contained there, such as the distinctive characteristics, hardiness, cultivation, propagation and so on. It gives the botanical names, synonyms and common names for the plants. If you know the name of a plant and want to find out what it looks like the Directory is the place to start. Look up the plant name and then associate it with a picture in the Catalogue section.

First published in 1989 and now in its fifth edition, it has sold over 3 million copies. I would say this was an essential for any gardeners’ bookshelf.

2 thoughts on “RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers”

  1. Hello, I also use the RHS enciclopedia when I take photos outdoors and do not recognize the subject. It is a perfect companion for both gardeners and photogrpahers. You have very interesting posts, looking forward to reading your blog. Best, Lula

    • Thank you for your comment Lula. The RHS encyclopedia is indeed great for identifying plants.

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