Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wild Flowers by Trelawny

Wild Flowers of the Yukon, Alaska and Northwestern Canada (3rd edition) by John G. Trelawny (1988). 
This book is over 220 pages and a wonderful reference tool as each entry has at least one picture.  There is an extensive glossary which is wonderful as the description are quite thorough and have terms that will be popping up in my Words with Friends games soon (watch out!).  I loved reading and learning about my favorite flowers.  I learned that Fireweed is totally edible and comes in white and dark red in parts of the Yukon.  The Chocolate Lilly is also called “rice root” and is a food source for many Native people.  
(Forget me nots)

The book is organized by plant families with a top tap that changes color with the family.  There is an illustrated glossary, definition of terms (Glabrous means lacking hairiness, smooth) and a key to species with six flower-color groups.  Each flower has at least one picture allowing for easier identification.  I think that it is wonderful to have such a wide range of flowers (Alaska, Yukon and Northwestern Canada) for the road trippers and Alcan travelers. 
(wildflower romp)

The writing is concise and provides the necessary information for identification that include common locations.  While some wild flower books are more poetic, this is perfect for the arm chair botanist.  I found it most helpful if I take a picture of the flower in question so I can more easily sit and examine it with the help of the book.  If I had more time (and no children on the hike), it would be great to sit on a rocky slope and find out exactly what each flower was called.  
(getting a closer look at the flower)

Overall, I find this a most handy reference tool.  My children can ask about about the name of a flower and I can say with confidence, “I have no idea, but let’s take a picture and figure it out.”  I can ask them questions about the color and number of petals so it is a group, problem solving experience.  
(caught running away into the flower)

While I was at first disappointed it wasn’t organized by color, I didn’t have much trouble finding my target.  It helped me actually learn about the flowers, rather than do a matching game.  I would love to see a children’s guide in this same vein so the kiddos could learn as I do!

Overall, I give Wild Flowers of the Yukon, Alaska and Northwestern Canada my Alaskan Mom Approval.  It helps to cultivate knowledge of our surroundings, provides a different focus for familiar hikes and teaches children botany in an interesting way.  Thank you to Harbour Publishing for providing me with a copy!

Take a minute to read the amazing history of John Trelawny, the author.

1 comment:

  1. Doh, that is a book Jon REALLY wants. Perhaps he can look at it when we're up there.