Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 14, 2008

From: Janesville , CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Books for plant identification of native California species
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

When I was going to college, many years ago, there was a field book for plant identification for California native species. I am trying to find that book again or at least a good pocket book on plant identification of California plants. Any suggestions? All I can remember was, I think it had a green plastic cover. Also I think there may even have been another book put out by the Sierra Club that covered a lot of plants and other information on California. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on a good book for my purpose of Plant ID in California All information will be helpful.

ANSWER:

In terms of a "Field Guide" to California native plants, we could not find a book specifically titled that way. Nor, in a search for Sierra books, did we find such a publication. However, we did find several titles that might serve your purposes. If you scroll down to "Bibliography" on this page, you will find the titles we thought best suited your purposes. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California is considered to be the ultimate source for California native plants and may well be the one you used in college. If you click on the title, it will take you to some more information on the book, and even a button to order it from Amazon, if you wish. Here is an additional lists of books on California native plants, from our Bibliography section.

The Native Plant Society of California has a list of publications that you might check on. So many of the books are dedicated to a specific type of flora or a specific area of California, understandable since California has a tremendous diversity of native species. Of course, there are numerous websites on California Native Plants, such as: a Calflora site, "Searchable database on wild California plants." Unfortunately, it's a little difficult to use a computer when you're out in the field trying to identify a plant. Best wishes on finding the perfect book!

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Native flowers versus non-natives
June 30, 2014 - Native flowers versus non-natives. What guidelines do use for identification. I come across flowers in different habitats and can't identify them as natives. Also, how do you attach a image to a ...
view the full question and answer

Baby in a manger plant from Rock Hill SC
June 28, 2010 - I'm looking for the correct name for baby in a manger(It's a plant.)
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for Redding, CA
August 11, 2012 - I have a volunteer plant that has dull green leaf with tiny white flowers that turn into a small black berry the size of a raisin. Can you identify it? I live in Redding, Ca. They are popping up in th...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify a strange plant in my flowerbed
March 05, 2010 - I have a strange plant that I've called a weed in my flowerbed. It doesn't have many leaves but it has round white almost bulbs at the surface of the dirt. The "bulbs" look almost like a small oni...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Woodbury TN
July 07, 2009 - Please help identify this unusual plant. I am in Middle TN, Cannon County. This plant comes up every year and looks like something tropical. It has huge leaves about 16 + inches wide. and grows abo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.