Monday morning’s rain kept me indoors instead of out – a good time to think about wildflower resources available in print and online.
First, field guides. I have several wildflower guides on my bookshelves – here are the three that get the most use:
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers – Western Region (2001), by Richard Spellenberg: This is the most comprehensive of the guides I own, with photos of 660 flowers and descriptions for 654 major species that range west from the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains south to the Big Bend area of Texas.
Peterson Field Guides Rocky Mountain Wildflowers (1991), by John J. Craighead, Frank C. Craighead Jr. and Ray J. Davis: This guide includes descriptions for 590 species of flowers in eastern Washington and Oregon; Idaho; western Montana, Wyoming and Colorado; eastern Utah; northern Arizona; and northwest New Mexico, as well as 24 “plates” of photos. While this guide is older, it includes interesting bits about nature and history not found in other guides. For instance, it has this to say about the bitterroot: “Hen pheasants and mallards are incubating eggs when buds of Bitterroot first appear; when it is in full bloom Canada geese are undergoing a postnuptial molt and are flightless.”
National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Rocky Mountain States, by Peter Alden and John Grassy (1998): The wildflower information in this guide isn’t as in-depth as in the other two, but it includes information on other flora, animals, national forests and parks, the night sky and more. It covers Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
Google “wildflower” and you’ll get millions of Web site results. Here are a few useful ones:
Montana Native Plant Society: Includes information about society membership and events, as well as articles from the society’s newsletter, Kelseya. For information on the Clark Fork Chapter and events around Missoula, click “Local Chapters & Events” in the left-hand column.
Montana Field Guide: This site is a collaboration between the Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It includes taxonomy, photos and general descriptions, as well as information on whether a plant is an at-risk or exotic species.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: The center, based at the University of Texas at Austin, is dedicated to conservation of native wildflowers and plants. Its easy-to-use online database, found in the “Explore” tab at the top of the page, includes information on 6,849 native plants.
Celebrating Wildflowers: This U.S. Forest Service site includes native plant news and events, educational materials for children and teachers, information on rare and invasive plants, and plants of the week and pollinators of the month.