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Wildflowers of California: A Month-by-Month Guide Paperback – May 8, 2012


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Wildflowers of California: A Month-by-Month Guide + Introduction to California Spring Wildflowers of the Foothills, Valleys, and Coast (California Natural History Guides) + Trees and Shrubs of California (California Natural History Guides)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 588 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520272064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520272064
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A useful resource for wildflower enthusiasts who are planning to visit California's many natural areas. . . . Recommended.”
(A. L. Jacobsen, California State University, Bakersfield Choice 2012-11-27)

About the Author

Laird R. Blackwell is Professor of Psychology and Humanities at Sierra Nevada College and the author and photographer of six previous regional field guides to California wildflowers.

Customer Reviews

I bought two copies--one for a gift and one for the car for that weekend getaway.
Amazon Customer
Let's say, for instance, that it is now March and you want to find some great places in the state to see some blooms.
Dr. Joe
Gives extensive data on both locations to view wildflowers and times to look for them.
david morris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joe on April 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
To avoid confusion, this book should really be entitled something like California Wildflowers: When and Where They Are. Opening it up, most people will first think it is like other guides--you see a flower by a trail and then try to find it here and learn a little about it. But Blackwell includes only about 600 wildflower species, less than 10% of the number in California. Another book, A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers, covers over 1400 species, well over double that, and is even a smaller volume. You won't find much help for identification here, like furnishing categories for color or shape (e.g., number of petals).

His criteria for inclusion are also subjective---flowers "whose beauty or fascination would lead me to go out of my way to see them." Thus his standard leaves out a number of common species. For instance, he omits sweet fennel, a common chaparral plant that has pretty yellow flowers, can grow up to 6 feet high, with a pleasant aroma of licorice. That's unfortunate since its appearance can be confused with that of poison hemlock (containing the same deadly poison that did in Socrates) when both are well past flowering. Blackwell does include poison hemlock, but should include both.

But the real and probably intended use of this book is to find good locations where and when flowers are in bloom. Thus the book is divided into chapters by months of flowering from late January on. Let's say, for instance, that it is now March and you want to find some great places in the state to see some blooms. You turn to the March chapter where you will first see a list of the key habitats in California, such as the coast ranges, central valley, desert, etc., and under each are named some of the outstanding flowers that will probably be out then.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Marks on May 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've lived in Northern California my entire adult life and have been involved in native plants for decades, and I consider this one of the worst native wildflower books I've ever seen (and I've seen and owned many, many such books).

First of all, the photos are terrible, for the most part (many are not sharp, or clear, or even in focused, and they are not reproduced well in this book). But beyond the photo quality, this book has a basic problem with using the "monthly" approach, since almost all California wildflowers can be found blooming over a period of months.

Then there is the implied idea that this guide is actually representative of California wildflowers in general. There are orders of magnitude more native flower species blooming in California (in any one month), than are shown in this book, and in fact an individual is very likely to not find in this book, the species they are observing out of doors.

In addition, the location and month indicated in this guide, are not always accurate. For instance, the beautiful yellow calochortus, "calochortus monophyllus" is a flower you can (according to this book) find at Table Mountain (near Oroville, CA), but the truth is that you will NOT find this flower at the Table Mountain preserve. You may find it near there, along the roadside, but not at the Table Mountain preserve itself. Furthermore, this particular reserve contains hundreds of native plant species, and you might think the author could at least point out one native wildflower that is actually on the preserve, itself.

I have owned and read scores of nature books published by the University of California, and while some offer interesting text, for the most part their reproduced photography is below average and often useless for identification.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Mack on May 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really good wildflower book that I have added to my collection. Those looking for a color-coded finder might be disappointed, but it is exactly what it purports to be: a month by month guide. I wanted something that tells me what is blooming where (and when to go). Blackwell is well regarded in his field and is a photographer as well. He reveals his "secret places" so - please respect them and don't pick or trample the flowers (so we can enjoy them next year and in the years to come). I hope this compilation leads to an appreciation and conservation of the magnificent wildflowers of California.(By the author of A PLACE IN THE WORLD
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By david morris on April 20, 2013
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this book has an incredible amount of useful information. Gives extensive data on both locations to view wildflowers and times to look for them. No other book I've seen makes any attempt to do what this book does so well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By isle on August 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book because it was the only California Wildflower book I could find. It's a good resource, but I think it is ridiculous to arrange the flower month by month. Some flowers bloom for many months. Other flowers bloom all over the state, but they will bloom months later in the Sierras. Thus, it's hard to know where to start when searching for a flower.
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Wildflowers of California: A Month-by-Month Guide
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