June 19, 2013

A pocket-sized wildflower checklist



Wildflowers of ...
[insert your state or region here]
Author: Stan Tekiela
Paperback: 425 pages
Published: 2000













This compact book is the most helpful print wildflower guide I've used. The publisher doesn't appear to have one for every U.S. state, but a good many are offered.

This resource comes in handy, for example, when you need to distinguish the difference between Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) and Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata). They look similar and grow in the same conditions, but the latter is a deadly native perennial.


What I like:
  • The photos are high-quality, and each one covers a full page, making plant identification easier.
  • Plants are organized by most common color, with color tabs for each entry.
  • Icons at the bottom of the page help identify flower cluster, flower type, leaf type, leaf attachment, and fruit.
  • Plants typically found in unique habitats (prairies, boundary waters) are identified.
  • An index at the back arranges all plants by common name, in alphabetical order.
  • A brief glossary defines basic plant terminology.
  • The book is palm-sized, and takes up very little space in a bag or backpack, making it easy to take along when hiking, camping, or traveling.
  • Each entry includes descriptions of plant family, height, flower, leaf, bloom time, cycle/origin, habitat, range, and history.


What needs improvement:
  • It would be nice to have an additional index with Latin names, since common names often vary. (Latin names, however, are listed along with the common names at the tops of the pages.)
  • While the book lists most Wisconsin wildflowers, it obviously can't include all, and in all colors. A quick reference to online resources would be handy, since most of us also carry smartphones.
  • The binding is a little flimsy, as mentioned by several bookseller reviews. It's easily fixed, though, with super glue.

The book is available on Amazon or direct through the publisher. If you enjoy identifying, reading about, and studying wildflowers, this is a great little resource.

I'm linking this post to Holley's "Garden Book Review" meme at Roses and Other Gardening Joys. Thanks, Holley!

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Next up: The Garden Lessons Learned wrap-up. Please share a post or your thoughts about lessons you've learned during the past few months. To join in, click here to leave a comment with a link to your post. Cheers!

22 comments:

  1. What a great little book. Too bad there isn't one for NY yet but I will check out the publisher in the future as more are coming.

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    1. If/when they do publish one for New York, I'd recommend it. I even put it on my nightstand sometimes for some light reading before sleeping. ;-)

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  2. Sounds like a great book. I need one for Alabama!

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    1. Sounds like they will be publishing more for other states. I noticed they do have one for the Southeast: Wildflowers of the Southeast. That's a big region to cover with one book, so hopefully they'll expand the state-by-state coverage soon!

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  3. Very handy!! I need one of these for VA. A book called the Flora of Virginia is coming out but at 1,000+ pages it would be a chore to lug around. :o)

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    1. I need to get a comprehensive big book for Wildflowers of North America. I have some with drawings, but it's hard (for me) to ID plants from drawings. Usually I use online resources, but it would be great to have a comprehensive hardcover book on the topic. (See note to Deb above re: Wildflowers of the Southeast.)

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  4. Love the idea of this book and I agree, a phone app would be handy.

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    1. I even think if the publisher would simply mention apps or online resources in the book, that would be helpful. There are quite a few wildflower/plant ID apps/resources, but just sending people in the right direction with a reference in the book would be helpful.

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  5. I will have to check and see if there's one for NC. My current way of identifying plants is to photograph them and look them up later.

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    1. Lucky you! There is one for the Carolinas: Wildflowers of the Carolinas. I do the same thing with photos, but it's nice to have the book, too. It's helping me to keep more of them in my head. ;-)

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  6. We still have a copy of this one from when we lived in Wisconsin ten years ago!

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    1. I didn't know (or I forgot!) that you lived in Wisconsin before. Nice! Isn't it a great book? I think they have one for Illinois, too? I suppose many of the wildflowers are the same (except in northern Wisconsin and southern Illinois).

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  7. Wildflower identification books are essential to the state (or in my case, province) for learning about local native plants. I have two different Wildflowers of Ontario books and use them frequently when I don't know what a pretty flower is growing along the roadside.

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    1. Yes, so true! I have some other guidebooks, but they aren't as helpful as this one. Some include drawings instead of photos, or they don't have visuals for every plant. Ontario is an incredibly beautiful province, by the way!

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  8. Looks like a great little book! I often find it difficult to identify things that suddenly starts to grow in my garden and sometimes I wonder if it is a gem self seeded from a garden far away or just another weed. I have taken photographs of some and Googled to try to identify, and rescued a few things, at the moment I think I have a rowan sapling growing in a pot that I rescued from between my paving slabs last year :-) And I have a white Japanese anemone self seeded from someone’s garden, happily growing in mine after I identified what those tiny leaves were.

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    1. Yes, I feel like I need to memorize it. ;-) How fun to rescue plants that wend their way in through seedlings! I've done that a few times, too. And some of the neighbors' plants have spread to my yard--which is fine by me!

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  9. I have a wildflower book by Don Kurz with great color photos that I usually refer to. But a pocket-sized book that could easily be carried while on walks would be great. I think I've seen one for Illinois by this same author, though I suspect Wisconsin and Illinois wildflowers aren't that different:)

    I could have sworn I left a comment on your last post, but apparently I didn't--lovely blooms and foliage! Don't you wish the peonies would last longer?

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    1. Yes, I was mentioning the same thing to Jason (above). I checked my comments and didn't notice, but thanks for your kind words, Rose. Yes, the Peonies are always a highlight of the transition from spring to summer, and I'm sad to see them go.

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  10. The wildflower on the book cover is certainly beautiful. We have so many different zones in my state, California, and so there is a diversity of wildflowers. I'm still trying to get California poppies to grow in my yard!

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    1. Oh my, yes, California would probably need several pocket-sized books! California Poppies are so bright and hopeful! Apparently they're native in all the lower 48 states--people have them in their gardens here, too!

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  11. I just looked - and there's one for Texas! Yeah! This sounds like the perfect book to have. I am always running across wildflowers that I wish I knew the name of. I'm so glad you brought this little book to my attention! Thanks so much for joining in!

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    1. Great! I hope you like it. The next thing I plan to do is start checking off (in the book index) the plants I've seen, and others as I see them. Thanks for hosting the meme, Holley!

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