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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Knowledgebase record #245

Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner, 2014

Reviewed by: Brian Thompson
Review date: 2014-10-01

Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest cover

Mark Turner, another gifted photographer, has produced his second Timber Press Field Guide: “Trees & Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest,” co-authored with Ellen Kuhlmann. As with his earlier book on the wildflowers of the region (co-authored with Phyllis Gustafson), this is designed for use in the field. Quickly accessible inside the front and back covers are diagrams of the various types of flower parts, leaves, fruits, and seeds. The cover is weather-resistant and a ruler, in both inches and centimeters is handily placed on the back cover.

This guide is also very comprehensive. “While a few readers may gripe about the size and weight of this volume, we chose to err on the side of clarity and include at least a pair of photographs for most of the 568 taxa that have a main entry.” The authors also joke that this book was “…our excuse to learn the willows” and sure enough, 28 pages are devoted to this genus that is notoriously difficult to identify at the species level.

The plant descriptions begin with conifers, followed by angiosperms divided by leaf types. There are no keys, but the extra photographs, and their high quality, makes finding plants pretty straightforward. The range maps include all of Washington and Oregon, along with southern British Columbia and northern California, showing all the counties or regional districts where the plant has been documented. The maps are a fascinating study all on their own.

The helpful introduction is only slightly modified from Turner’s earlier book, but no matter: it is useful information on how to get the best use out of this book and make the most of your plant exploration. The descriptions of the different ecoregions could make a useful booklet by itself.

Excerpted from the Fall 2014 Arboretum Bulletin.

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