Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Plant identification
June 23, 2008 - Hi, I live in southeastern PA, and want to identify a wildflower . It about 36" tall, with a showy red spiked flower at the top, appox. 2" in diameter. Thanks, Robin
view the full question and answer

Plant identification possibly red buckeye
July 06, 2008 - I encountered a shrub-like plant in the Edwards Plateu noth of Bracketville, and could use your help with identification. It's most distinguishing charactaristics are the seed pod, which has three c...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
October 01, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Ever since we received this (much needed and wonderful) rain in Austin, my gardens and yard are being swamped with these tiny, green clover-like plants. I've never seen it ...
view the full question and answer

Yellow-blossomed Shrub that Occurs in Arizona and Texas
May 08, 2012 - What is the name of the large shrubs you will see in Arizona with the bright yellow blossoms. They grow wild everywhere, and I also see them in the town. Could you please tell me the name of them, s...
view the full question and answer

May I send a blueberry picture for ID?
May 28, 2010 - May I send a digital photo of plant for confirmation that it is a wild blueberry?
view the full question and answer

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