“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:

A wonderful work-in-progress that I’m proud to play a small part in:

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)

11 thoughts on “About

  1. Elisabeth, it was nice to meet you today. If you wish, I think it would be interesting to share information on wildflowers and photography. You blog is fun and informative so thanks for posting it. 301-229-0195

  2. I attempted to send you and three other people on the MNPS Discussion Group a friend request for FaceBook. I think I succeeded on two of them but I don’t think yours got through. If it didn’t and you’re interested, please send me a friend request. I thought you might like to see the all white Showy Orchis.

  3. A delightful read … I chuckled as you sunk deeper and deeper into plants and photography. (What a great place to spend time!) Thanks too for the references and resources.

  4. Hi Elizabeth! I’m writing to say hello from a fellow nature blogger, and to say that I’ve really enjoyed following your work here. I also wanted to tip you off to a new feature on my own website that will hopefully drive some more readers your way.

    I recently launched a site called The Pigeon that I’m envisioning as a newsletter, field guide, and resource directory for naturalists across eastern North America. I’ve come to realize that there’s a ton of terrific content out there that should be of interest to nature enthusiasts throughout our ecoregion, but that can be pretty tough to find and keep track of. So I’ve taken it on myself to build up a feed of the latest posts from dozens of local nature bloggers throughout the region. The feed can be filtered by blog category – birds, bugs, photography, etc. – and the blogs can even be viewed on an interactive map by (approximate) location. Check it out here:


    It’s very much a work in progress, so if there’s a blog you love that I haven’t found yet – or if you have any issues with how your own blog is being presented – please do let me know. And if you find it useful, do me a favor and help me spread the word! I feel very passionately about helping to build community among naturalists who share our landscape, and I’m glad to be sharing that community with you.

    Keep up the great work!
    All best,
    Matt Smith

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