First published in five volumes between 1855-1866, The flowering plants, grasses, sedges, and ferns of Great Britain was widely regarded as the best popular botanical work of its time. Its author and illustrator, Anne Pratt (1806-1893), suffered from ill health as a child and was unable to engage in outdoor pursuits. A family friend, Dr. Dods, taught her botany and one of her sisters collected plants for her, which she sketched. The drawings afterwards formed illustrations for her books.
She wrote and illustrated several other botanical works, including The field, the garden, and the woodland, which was published in 1838 and reached a third edition in less than ten years, and Wild flowers, published in 1852, and which was also issued in sheets for hanging up in schoolrooms. The importance of Anne Pratt's books in spreading a knowledge and love of botany was acknowledged by a grant from the civil list.