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4.7 out of 5 stars
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my dad, and he hasn't put it down since he got it. The detailed descriptions of habitat, appearance, and usefulness of each plant are supplemented by great color pictures, as well as instructions for avoiding dangerous look-alikes. I would highly recommend this book for hikers, backpackers, woodsmen, and anyone else that spends a lot of time outdoors.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a good beginning book on edible and medicinal plants of the west. The pictures are excellent and really help in identify species. The only complaint I have with this book is that it is missing some important edible plant sources, and it is also could be more detailed in methods of cooking and eating the plants.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Full color photographs of every plant in the book, along with very complete, if brief, descriptions of characteristics and properties. The book itself is compact and easy to carry with you into the field, which is the ONLY place to truly study the subject matter. Enjoy this gem!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have to give Tilford credit for preparing a great book. Don't let the title of this book fool you into thinking that it will only be useful for the western U.S. or Canada. This book would be a great addition to any forager or herbalist in the U.S. or Canada because at least 50% of the plants found in this book can be found in the east. The pictures are crisp and because of his knowledge of herbal medicine he offers thorough insight on warnings about plants where other authors lack. Has a great introduction and the plants are organized alphabetically by common name...not standard practice but is probably more useful for the amateur botanist. His index provides quick access for those more familiar with scientific names. Two major parts in this book "Edible and Medicinal Plants" and "Toxic Plants and Advanced Medicines". Each plant account has common and scientific names of the plant and its family followed by the defining characters. The bloom period, habitat range, edibility , look-alike plants, medicinal uses and any warnings are also included. The "Toxic Plants and Advanced Medicines" section contains 21 species and is very informative. Contains a brief but useful glossary and his "Bibliography and Recommended Reading" looks like it has some useful books to investigate.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Some people may not like that I say this but this book is perfect bathroom reading.

I got this book thinking that I'd take it on hikes just like a normal person would, but when I got it in the mail I looked through it and realized I wouldn't be able to use it. All the plants are listed in alphabetical order. I don't know the names of any plants! How would I ever be able to look up a plant if I didn't know the name of it?! Sure every entry has really nice clear pictures, but that's a lot of pages to rummage through. I realized I'd have to study up before I took it into nature, and that's when I got the idea. I'd read it when nature was calling!

It's perfect for the bathroom because each entry is about half a page and takes maybe 5 minutes to read. So for a quick drop off you can read just one, and for a long stay you can read many more.

If you're interested in plants and their usage, whether it be from a herbology perspective or just a hungry perspective, I'd say this is a good book to get started with. It's a lot like an encyclopedia, each entry is short with just the basic information. It is by no means comprehensive. If you want more info you'll have to search the internet or buy another book. For a beginner like me, who knows nothing about plants, this is a good book. Short and sweet entries with clear color pictures and just enough information to get a basic idea of each plant and to keep me busy while I do my business.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I know little about foraging. The only other plant foraging books I've owned are by Euell Gibbons. Gibbons is a very entertaining author, but his books are not specific to my region, and they contain sketches not photos. Photographs are far superior to sketches. The downside is that the glossy paper required for photos is heavier. For you backpackers, this book is 8.5x5.5 inches and weighs a hefty 15.6 ounces. I weighed it myself. I give the book four stars instead of five because the plants are not categorized but in alphabetical order which makes looking up a plant much more difficult.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a first time buyer of a book such as this, I will have to say I am not an expert on this topic. I have done a lot of research though before I bought this book. When I received the book it was better then I expected. The pictures are real photos and thats a BIG help. The information is to the point and without a bunch of "filler" or meaningless rambling. One thing I liked is that it also gives the growing season of all the plants. It also gives several look alike plants to avoid and that are poisonous.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book has descriptions of edible and medicinal species but scant information about the chemical constituents of medicinal varieties, little or no information on medicinal preparation, and only cursory notes on food use and preparation. It's not practical as an identification manual since it has no keys and organizes all species alphabetically rather than taxonomically. Furthermore, the writing is dull and too often opinionated with little or no support for the author's positions concerning sustainable foraging and the dangers of toxic medicinals. The reader is frequently told "Don't mess with this plant" or admonished not to pick it without being told exactly why or given citations for further reading. If Mushrooms Demystified sets the standard for highly informative, surprisingly entertaining, and down right useful guide books, this book fails to come even remotely close to that standard. That aside, if you plan on seriously learning to identify and ingest wild edibles, you might want this book in your library.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Just got this book today and have to say, It's very good. It's "to the point". It doesn't go into a whole lot of unnecessary detail. It gives you a good base to identifying plants. Shows habitat, edibleness, blooming cycles, medicinal uses and warnings in BIG BOLD LETTERS. It's in alphabetical order so if you don't already know what you're looking at, it takes quite a bit of time to find the plant in the book and identify it. That's the only negative I can say.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
The pictures are great for identifying plants. It gives a good decription for the habitat that the plants live in and also has warnings of look a like plants. This book is a great addition for anyone interested in plants.
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