Book of the Month for Jun 2023

Wildflowwrs of the Pacific Northwrst
Joan Swanberg

Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Phyllis Gustafson by Mark Turner and Phyllis Gustafson    Portland: Timber Press, 2006.

$29.95 list, $18.99 Amazon


Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest is a Timber Press Field Guide and as such I will attempt a review from my point of view on its merits.

Like most field guides, this one includes most of the common native plants, weeds, and many rarer plants. It is meant to be used in the field and has its primary search by color. The page ends carry the color running from white through green to aid the observer in the field, so that you can flip right to the color section you need. Every plant in the guide has a thumbnail picture and I love this, a regional map showing where the plant can be found.

Each plant is identified by its latin name followed by its plant family. Under the name are a couple of common names. As you might expect, plants heights are given, season of bloom, habitat and elevation. What I found especially helpful was that at the very end of each plant description you can find at a glance whether the plant is native or non-native. This is handy when you might not have the time to read all the text in the field.

The bulk of this great field guide is, of course, the guide itself, but I spent many hours enjoying the front of the book which includes a very helpful chapter on Climate, Geography, and Plant Habitats with an outstanding map on page 22. There were also many lovely color photos representing different eco-regions with accompanying text.

The end papers showed (front) flower parts and (back) leaf parts- arrangements, edges, shapes, etc. And there you have it- a very serviceable, well researched, easy to use guide, from two authors who have obviously used field guides themselves and knew what they wanted to include to make their own guide as useful as possible.


Joan Swanberg is a former president of the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont and a botanical illustrator. She loves to collect and identify historic daffodils. She currently gardens in Charlottesville, Virginia and West Glacier, Montana.