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Edible and Useful Plants of California (California Natural History Guides) Paperback – February 7, 1978

3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A comprehensive coverage of identification, collection, and preparation."--"Outdoor California

From the Back Cover

The plants are organized by habitat communities. Descriptions, photos, drawings and distribution information are given. Where poisonous lookalikes exist, they too are illustrated. Much fascinating information about Indian uses of native introduced species is included.
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Product Details

  • Series: California Natural History Guides (Book 41)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Revised ed. edition (February 7, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520032675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520032675
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have quite a few "nature" books on my shelf, and at least 5 on plant identification. I was a tad bit leary when I ordered this book, thinking that it would just become another dust gatherer. Boy was I wrong. It is one of the easiest reads I have ever seen on this subject. You do not have to have a degree in botany to get into, and begin to use the info in this book. It has rekindled my desire to learn more about the plant-life around me. If you live, and play outdoors in California, then I would definately recomend this book, and some of the recipes listed in this book really are to die for ( and I am not talking about the chapter on poisonous plant identification ).
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Format: Paperback
As a former graduate student in botany I have almost 100 books on botany and plant identification, and this is one of the most fun and easiest to use guides that I have. It's not a rigorous guide, but it's not meant to be, since it focuses on the edible and useful plants of California. About a hundred species are covered, if I remember right (cut me some slack here since it's been awhile since I picked it up), and the notes on their herbal or culinary use, which I don't know as much about, increased my knowledge there.

This would probably be one of the best books for an amateur to get their feet wet identifying plants because it limits itself to one topic and many of the easier species to identify. Plus you'll learn about how various plants they have been used in the past and continue to be useful today.

For example, to mention just one, ceanothus, of which there are about 40 species in California, was used both as a tea substitute and tobacco substitute by the early settlers. And it's easily identifiable by the three prominent veins on the underside of the leaf, as well as the small, pretty clusters of violet flowers. Most of the 40 odd species are low growing herbs or bushes, but the largest species can be a 40 foot tall tree.

Overall, a fine book and one that imparts a lot of fun, useful information.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is quite thorough. There are pictures, but not as many as there could be to make the book excellent. Books that try to describe the differences between two plants that look alike, but one is poisonous and the other is a useful herb, should provide large numbers of color pictures.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In todays level of technology I would have appreciated actual photo's of plants, not primarily drawings, crucial for the beginner.
However that aside. This is one of the most complete and useful books I have came across for edible plants in California and would highly recommend to anyone looking to eat in California.
To make up for the short comming's I purchased the National Audubon Field Guide to California, which is nothing but actual photographs with the name of each included, but strongly lacks in the area of what'ws edible. Between both books you can actually determine what's edible and what it looks like.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very well written, fun to read, and informative. I purchased it for baclground information on an historical novel, but found myself reading it just for fun.
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Format: Paperback
Edible and Useful Plants of California (California Natural History Guides)

If you are interested in wild plants, this is a good book for identification. The recipes provided are easy and delicious. I have already prepared Purslane (Verdolaga) in her recipe titled, "Verdolagas Con Queso" -- Excellent! There are many more I can't wait to try. Excellent book by Charlotte Bringle Clarke.
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Format: Paperback
This book has a lot of useful information, however, pictures are far and few between. Of the pictures included, many are not adequate for safe plant identification.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wasn't very good. It is hard for a book like this to be helpful without color pictures.
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