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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.

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

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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!

 

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