This handy little book makes wildflower identification a walk in the park.
You don't have to lug a big field guide on your hikes--just slip this little handbook into your jacket pocket and you're good to go. Flowers are grouped by color, which allows you to quickly identify a flower. The author has included a photograph and a drawing for each of the 160 species mentioned. This helps a lot, because the illustration includes a lot of detail for an individual plant, while the photograph shows what you may typically see the the field. And that field is not limited to region, but includes the continental US and Canada.
I like that there's also basic information regarding wildflowers, which explains weeds, invasives, and the basic structure of a flower.
There is also a section on poisonous species, which is helpful if you plan to actually stray off the beaten path.
Each page features a specific flower, with a little fact box offering a description, its range, habitat and bloom period. The author then has a nice, clear explanation of how and where to actually find the flower, as well as a bit of lore regarding traditional uses or similar species. (It's interesting that some of them are named after parasites--like tickseed and fleabane.)
This book is fully indexed and the binding looks sturdy, which is important for any book that doesn't sit on your shelf but rather goes places with you.
A few caveats:
*Because the book is small and easy to flip through, this is no big deal, but if the margins of the pages had little color-codes, you could find your target section more easily.
*North America, here, doesn't include Mexico. If you're planning on a little day trip while vacationing in Cancun, this book probably wouldn't be a good choice.
*There aren't any carnivorous plants, which do have flowers and are found in North America. I know this is a basic and brief guide, but if you want to get really serious about wildflower identification, you may want to back this up with that big field guide I mentioned earlier.
This is definitely worth having if you like to hike or camp, or if you are considering adding a wildflower garden to your yard. You can eventually add books that give you more detail on finding or cultivating wildflowers, but this is great if your interest is just beginning to bloom.