Plant Families of the Western United States (Paperback)
The first step in the identification of any unknown plant is to recognize the family to which it belongs. For example, when you look at a daisy, blanket flower, sunflower, or coneflower, even a novice will undoubtedly recognize that the flowers have features in common that make them recognizable as plants in the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). In this way we are all born taxonomists - we unconsciously see the differences in characteristics of everyday objects. Without thinking, our mind runs through an analysis of its characters, a tendency that leads to classifying like-objects into groups. The entire natural world has been classified in this fashion - arranged from a few broad associations all the way down to millions of distinct species. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with the patterns of even just a few common plant families, opens the door to the identification of thousands of individual plant species.
The goal of this field guide is to enable readers to identify 54 flowering plant families. The focus is on illustrating the field recognition characters with photographs. Take the plunge - learn the characteristics of the plant families presented here - and in short order you will be automatically classifying the plants you encounter.