“run and find out”
I’m curious about everything. I couldn’t keep hiking along the Billy Goat B and C trails in C&O Canal NHP without learning about all the beautiful flowers there. Plant ID became a hobby, then an obsession. At first I took pictures with an iPhone, but learning more about the plants made me want to take better pictures, so I bought a real camera (Nikon D3200). And taking better pictures got me really interested in photography, so I started studying that, too, and bought a better camera (D750).
And so this blog became a way to teach myself both botany and photography, and a way to share my discoveries with fellow botanerds.
My favorite place to view wildflowers is the Potomac Gorge, but I also spend time on the Cabin John Trail and other parts of the Maryland Piedmont. And whenever I travel, I make at least a little time for botanizing.
For basic plant identification I recommend the following books:
- Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb (Little, Brown and Company)
- Wildflowers in the Field and Forest (A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States) by Steven Clemants and Carol Gracie (Oxford University Press)
- Peterson Field Guides Wildflowers (Northeastern/North-central North America) by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny (Houghton Mifflin Company)
A few particularly useful websites:
- http://plants.usda.gov/java/ the USDA PLANTS Database for basic data on location and conservation status
- http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/ Dr. John Hilty’s excellent Illinois Wildflowers site for detailed but not overly technical descriptions of plants and their habitats
- https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/ the New England Wildflower Society’s site for detailed, technical descriptions and good keys
- http://www.efloras.org/ for when you need serious details
- Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (aka Weakley’s Flora) by Alan S. Weakley for when you need serious details but also need to limit the geographic range
- http://www.itis.gov/ the Integrated Taxonomy Information System for current taxonomy
- http://bonap.org/ the Biota of North America Program for county-level location maps of species
- http://eol.org/info/search the Encyclopedia of Life website: “Information and pictures of all species known to science”
A wonderful work-in-progress that I’m proud to play a small part in:
- http://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/ the Maryland Biodiversity Project, “a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on cataloging all the living things of Maryland”
More book recommendations (because I’m a book geek, too):
- Finding Wildflowers in the Washington-Baltimore Area by Cristol Fleming, Marion Blois Lobstein, and Barbara Tufty (Johns Hopkins University Press)
- Eastern Woodland Wildflowers and Trees by Melanie Choukas-Bradley (University of Virginia Press)
- Muenscher’s Keys to Woody Plants by Edward A. Cope (Comstock Publishing Associates)
- Northeast Ferns Steve W. Chadde (privately published)
- Plant Identification Terminology by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris (Spring Lake Publishing)
- How to Identify Flowering Plant Families by John Philip Baumgardt (Timber Press)
- Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel (HOPS Press)
- Photographic Atlas of Botany and Guide to Plant Identification by James L. Castner (Feline Press)
I am not a botanist. If you believe I’ve misidentified a plant or made any mistake, please leave a (detailed) comment.
banner photo: partridgeberry (Mitchella repens)