The Trail Companion
Theme: San Francisco Bay Area
Identifying the Mystery Plant
An Annotated Guide to Wildflower and Plant
Guides for the Bay Area and Beyond
The rest of the books on the list are perhaps more
useful as references than as field guides.
The two books below are floras, lists of the plants
found in a particular area, rather than guides to
plant identification. They include useful information
on geology and geography, as well as descriptions of
the plant communities.
- Keator, Glenn, PhD., Plants of the East Bay
Parks, Mount Diablo Interpretive Association,
Roberts Rinehart Publishers, Inc., Niwot, CO,
- This book is nice because it covers trees,
shrubs, and flowers, and because it provides more
information about the plants than the other field
guides. It's a bit bulky for trail use.
- Sharsmith, Helen K., Flora of the Mount
Hamilton Range of California, California
Native Plant Society, Berkeley, CA, 1982.
- McClintock, Elizabeth, Paul Reeberg, and Walter
Knight, A Flora of the San Bruno
Mountains, California Native Plant Society,
Sacramento, CA, 1990.
The next two books were Christmas presents, and I
haven't had a real chance to use them:
- Thomas, John Hunter, Flora of the Santa
Cruz Mountains of California: A Manual of the
Vascular Plants, Stanford University Press,
Stanford, CA, 1961.
- Nicely local, although well out-of-date for
scientific names of plants (and also for some
common names). Quirky organization, but generally
useful, with information on geology, geography,
plant communities, and an index of place names.
Also small enough to toss in a daypack.
- Hickman, James C., editor, The Jepson
Manual: Higher Plants of California,
University of California Press, Berkeley, Los
Angeles, London, 1993.
- This book is so big and comprehensive that it
will intimidate the casual wildflower fan - it
certainly scares me. It covers everything that is
native or naturalized in California, from ferns to
redwood trees, and from orchids to bunch grasses.
Way too big to carry on the trail.
Finally, a couple of books about the natural history
- Bakker, Elna, An Island Called
California: An Ecological Introduction to Its
Natural Communities, University of California
Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1971.
- This book is a classic. It takes you on a tour
of the state, from the seashore to the mountains,
and from the rivers to the deserts. Everyone who
moves into California should be given a copy of
this book at the border bug station.
- Schoenherr, Allan A., A Natural History of
California, University of California Press,
Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1994.
- I've used this book as a reference, to learn
more about an area I was traveling to. More
detailed, but not as readable as the Bakker
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Six Sure-Fire Wildflower Hikes
A Few More Flower Tips
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