This is the botanical bible for the Northwest United States. It includes all of Washington, most of Oregon, Idaho north of the Snake River Plain, mountainous Montana and an indeterminate part of southern British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. It’s a bit old and in need of some revision to incorporate taxonomic updates, however it is basically a complete flora, the only one for this region. It is easy to cross reference old taxonomy with updated information that can be found on the internet. It is not the easiest to use as a fair grasp on technical botanical terms is required, however someone willing to suffer through the technical keys and keep a finger in the glossary of terms can trip through most sections with some effort. Having used technical regional keys from all over the country, I can say Flora of the Pacific Northwest is the best regional flora out there.
Included are an introduction, which discusses the geography and some taxonomic considerations; a glossary of technical terms that is necessary to run the keys; synoptical and artificial keys to plant families; keys within each family that lead to genera and finally species; and an index. This flora does two things different from most. The species descriptions are summarized within the couplet, which saves space and makes for a more accurate key. Most keys use only one or two characters in the couplets so it’s easy to go wrong. The other difference is the superb line drawings, which are put directly in the margin along side the feature or species to be illustrated. The remarkable thing about these drawings is they are shrunk down versions of highly detailed plates so details can actually be increased with magnification. This book is a compilation of the five volume set of the Flora of the Pacific Northwest that was written in the 1950s and 60s. I’m told by a former grad student at UW that a five volume set was sacrificed to the scissors and tape to do this.
It’s a bit heavy to pack around in the mountains, but its easy to keep in the car at the trailhead or camp and bring plants to it. If one is serious about learning the flora of the northwest, then obtaining this book and learning to use it is a must. There are several descent picture books used to identify plants out there, but even the best of them contain a relatively small fraction of the plants represented in the flora of the region.
Product DetailsHardcover: 730 pages
Publisher: University of Washington Press (June 1973)
Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.4 x 1.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
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