Thousands of nature lovers take part in wildflower pilgrimages each year. These are a tradition in many parts of the country. When planning such trips, field guides really come in handy. With that in mind, here are some invaluable pocket guides.
The University of Iowa Press has published an excellent series of pocket guides to wildflowers. The Bur Oak series is by Paul Martin Brown. I’ve reviewed several of the earlier releases. Now there are several additional titles.
Each one of these guides is on a particular group of wildflowers. These folding, laminated, weatherproof guides are the best thing around. They’re meant to withstand wear and tear. Small enough to fit in a pocket, they’re packed with lots of information. These have beautiful lush color photos of the plants.
“Twayblades and Adder’s-Mouth Orchids in Your Pocket” focuses on three groups. These include the Liparis, Listera, and the Malaxis species. These wildflowers occur in the lower 48 states and Canada. In addition to the photos of the 21 species, this also gives a description, the time of year when they’re found, and the states in which they grow. This has an easy to use botanical key for ID. There are sketches of the flowers to help you tell the three groups apart. This also has a general introduction to the plants.
“Lady’s-Slippers in Your Pocket” covers all of the cypripediums in the U.S. and Canada. It also has a key. This guide features 20 kinds of lady’s slippers. There are sketches of the flowers.
“Ladies’-Tresses in Your Pocket” covers 36 kinds of Spiranthes that are found in the U.S. and Canada. The sketches show the flowers, leaves, and stems.
“Grass-pinks and Companion Orchids in Your Pocket” features 25 kinds of orchids that occur in the lower 48 states and Canada. These include eight genera (Arethusa, Bletia, Calopogon, Cleistes, Eulophia, Gymnadeniopsis, Pogonia, and Pteroglossaspis). The sketches illustrate the differences between the various genera.
Waterford Press specializes in pocket guides. They’ve released “Great Smoky Mountain Trees and Wildflowers-An Introduction to Familiar Species.” Part of Waterford’s Pocket Naturalist Guide series, this folding, and laminated guide features nearly 130 plants.
The wildflowers are grouped according to their flower color. This also features a wide range of common trees and shrubs.
For each species, this has lovely color art. It gives the common and Latin names along with brief descriptions that will help you identify each one. The measurements are given in inches/feet and the metric system.
As a companion to the Smoky Mountain wildflower guide, I also recommend another title from Waterford. “Great Smoky Mountain Birds-An Introduction to Familiar Species” features 134 birds. These include ducks and herons, game birds, owls, birds of prey, woodpeckers and doves. Over half of the guide is devoted entirely to the perching birds.
For each bird, this has beautiful color line art and information on its size (inches and metric me