My residents and medical students tend to poke fun at me when we go on field trips during their toxicology elective. It is because my car has a box in the backseat with every field guide and handbook ever printed. I don't want to miss anything important. Until 1985, the only field guide to poisonous plants was the classic written by Kingsbury (Poisonous Plants of the United States and Canada, Prentice-Hall, 1964.). It was primarily a descriptive text with few color photos and many line drawings. Then in 1985 Ken Lampe and Mary Ann McCann wrote The AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, the first edition of this text. It was a quantum leap in plant identification and replaced several texts in my “field box.” After Ken Lampe died in 1990, not only did the world lose a great toxicologist and clinician, but also an outstanding botanist and author. I was thrilled when I learned that the second edition was being published, and I couldn't wait for the first printing. I wondered if the new authors would have the botanical knowledge coupled with the clinical acumen and writing skills necessary to bring this edition to the level of the first. Drs. Nelson and Shih are both nationally recognized experts in toxicology, and Dr. Balick is a botanist with the New York Botanical Garden. Well, their credentials are certainly pristine, but as they say, the “proof of the pudding is in the tasting.” I took the book with me on several field trips over a 2-week period and I was not disappointed. Not only have Drs. Nelson, Shih, and Balick written a concise, inclusive, practical, and beautifully illustrated book, but they have surpassed what Dr. Lampe did 22 years ago.
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Published online: April 07, 2008
© 2008 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.