Author Topic: Book suggestions for plant identification?  (Read 2991 times)

Offline Moustaki

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Book suggestions for plant identification?
« on: April 03, 2013, 12:30:25 PM »
Hi everyone,

One of my skills is to improve my plant identification skills. I'm overwhelmed by the number of books, and when I look at amazon reviews, it seems like there are a TON of great resources out there. I was wondering if anyone in the forums had a personal recommendation for a good plant identification book (or two) because i can't buy all the 4-5 star books that I'm finding.

An extra bit of info. I live in Michigan, so it would be for the Great Lakes region (mid-lower peninsula). Also, I'm not a complete novice, but I would be starting as a beginner (i.e., I can ID a handful of plants and trees, but there are PLENTY that I don't know).

best,

Stephen

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 05:58:11 PM »
I would use at least three.. all by different authors AND PUBLISHERS.
  • "The Forager's Harvest - A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants"
    By Samuel Thayer. Samuel is pretty cool, wrote an excellent book and I did a project with him once, kinda sorta.
  • I would go with the classic "Stalking The Wild Asparagus", by Euell Gibbons
  • The last one is not a book at all, but a deck of cards, but it is what started wild edible foods foraging for me in the 6th grade. "Edible and Poisonous Plants Of The Western States" I don't know this company http://www.diningonthewilds.com/books/bookcards.htm who is selling them on this site, but you can look at different places, including many state parks who do sell them. There is also the Eastern states version of them. These are the versions I recommend, but there are also other companies who make wild edible identification cards as playing cards too.

There *IS* alot of them out there. In one year I checked out 170-some books on wild edibles, some which were out of print from 7 different libraries.

But advice? Study a plant in each stage of the 4 seasons before you even try to eat it. The good news, some of them, like "Hairy Cat's Ear" and "Dandelion" are interchangable for edibility. The bad news, one year some people in Oregon thought they were collecting 'wild carrot' (Queen Anne's Lace) roots and ended up eating "Poison Hemlock". I found my first wild food in 1980 (mint) and didn't eat my first wild food until 1996 (stinging nettle). I studied alot first. I did not even touch wild mushrooms until 2006 (morels and shaggy manes).

Cedar

« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 06:04:26 PM by Cedar »

Offline mxitman

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1733
  • Karma: 125
  • Entrepreneur/HVAC Mechanic/Electrician
    • Heezy
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 06:32:27 PM »
Good info, I'm looking for the same thing too. I have a couple of books but I'm looking for more.

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 07:00:43 PM »
Good info, I'm looking for the same thing too. I have a couple of books but I'm looking for more.

I guess I should have mentioned there is a few really POORLY written books to. Be careful. Which is why I say to look for 3 different authors AND publishers. Also don't take anyone's word for it that it is edible either. And that anyone can be allergic to anything at anytime... and with wild edible foods, often you are being introduced to something your body has never been introduced to before.

Cedar

Offline Moustaki

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 11:57:05 PM »
Excellent, thank you! These were two that I saw in a couple reviews for that looked very good. (sorry for the Amazon links...)


Michigan Trees
http://www.amazon.com/Michigan-Trees-Revised-Updated-Region/dp/0472089218/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2XFVGHHY5RCHM&coliid=I1HO0QF3WITBQ0

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
http://www.amazon.com/Botany-Day-Patterns-Method-Identification/dp/1892784157/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2XFVGHHY5RCHM&coliid=I28BDV2U109OJ2

I tend to learn best when I learn structures in which I can put information into. I feel like the Botany in a Day one is that sort of book. I saw numerous reviews on the Michigan Trees books that mentioned it as an authority. Does anyone know either of these?

Cedar,  Those look like excellent suggestions. I remember seeing the name Euell Gibbons and I think the playing card idea is brilliant. I'll have a better reason to play a little Gin Rummy now. (no Euchre, of course, because I'd only learn part of the plants in the whole deck). I'm taking this slowly and seriously so as to not have a problem with foraging any inedible. Also, Cedar, what region are you in (out of curiosity). Do you have any experience with the Great Lakes region?



Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 07:52:41 AM »
Cedar,  Those look like excellent suggestions. I remember seeing the name Euell Gibbons and I think the playing card idea is brilliant. I'll have a better reason to play a little Gin Rummy now. (no Euchre, of course, because I'd only learn part of the plants in the whole deck). I'm taking this slowly and seriously so as to not have a problem with foraging any inedible. Also, Cedar, what region are you in (out of curiosity). Do you have any experience with the Great Lakes region?

The cards I recommend are not playing cards, but just with the plant info. I know there are playing cards/edible foods cards available from other companies, but I do not know how good the info on them is.

I am in Oregon, but my stomping ground is from here to northern British Colombia, Canada. If I go out of this region my wild edible food choices for me, for my knowledge dwindle. Like I know over 100 here in Oregon and then I go to someplace like Wisconsin and I know about 12-ish. And the only time I have been to the Great Lakes area was 2 years ago when I went to visit my friend in WI. It was storming so badly the day we were going to go see the Great Lakes, you could not see further than 5 feet overlooking the water, so although I have stood on the shore (well actually we stayed in the truck in the parking lot because it was so windy), I have never seen them.  :(

Cedar

Offline rikkrack

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1180
  • Karma: 36
  • Permaculture Entrepreneur
    • Wolf-Beach Farms
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 08:03:17 AM »
You may also try looking at 1/2 price books. or other used book stores. I found a bunch in the clearance section at that. so I think I got a dozen books for $2-3 each. I make my amazon book list, then print and see if any of the books are in. They also can ship books from other stores. In an effort to curb my "collection" wife now finds them at the library for me to preview before buying at the used book store.

"It doesn't matter they are $2 each. You have 60 books already"

Naturally I loan many out.

Offline Crazy Fox

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 455
  • Karma: 25
  • Every day, every way, getting better.
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 09:40:11 AM »
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
http://www.amazon.com/Botany-Day-Patterns-Method-Identification/dp/1892784157/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2XFVGHHY5RCHM&coliid=I28BDV2U109OJ2

I tend to learn best when I learn structures in which I can put information into. I feel like the Botany in a Day one is that sort of book. I saw numerous reviews on the Michigan Trees books that mentioned it as an authority. Does anyone know either of these?

I have a copy of Elpel's Botany in a Day and I've been using it for one of my skills this year.

So far, I'd say it's a great book. If you spend a few minutes with it each day you will be able to mentally pull up info on plants quite quickly.

I recommend it for people (like me) who don't know much about plants and would rather know a little about lots of different plants than know a great deal about only a few regionally specific plants. People who are already familiar with plants (Cedar) or only care about a limited set of plants (desert dwellers) would definitely want to augment their collection with additional books though.

Offline Moustaki

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 02:09:50 PM »
Cedar, I bought the ones you recommended. Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, they weren't any cheaper on half priced books than they were on Amazon, so I just got them there!  Onward and Upward!

Offline Moustaki

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 11:04:05 AM »
Hey Cedar, I just got "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" in the mail yesterday and read a couple chapters in it. Thanks for the suggestion. I think it's going to be quite excellent!

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1396
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Book suggestions for plant identification?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2013, 11:40:20 AM »
Hey Cedar, I just got "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" in the mail yesterday and read a couple chapters in it. Thanks for the suggestion. I think it's going to be quite excellent!

It's the classic which started them all. Other than Culpeper's Complete Herbal of course. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Culpeper

Cedar