This is a beautifully photographed book, as exhaustive as a book of this type can be. While it's impossible to catalog every plant in a geographical locale in a book of this size, the author has done a commendable job. The love of his subject shines through, especially in his love of photographing the natural world, and it's apparent that Dr. Taylor gave much time and attention to detail. The author states his intentions best in the introduction: "I planned and wrote this book for the amateur botanist and anyone who appreciates the desert environment and its varied wildflowers."
The author gives a brief, interesting summary of deserts and why they exist in the introduction, including information on desert variables such as wind, soils, temperature, and precipitation, along with a bit of geological history. The remainder of the book is divided into plant families, with color photographs of each plant therein.
In the back of the book is a "Key to Identifying North American Desert Wildflowers to Family," plant anatomy illustrations for helping the novice to become better informed, a glossary of terms, and an index.
I keep this book, as well as another popular book by Dr. Taylor, "Sagebrush Country" with me when trekking out into the wilds. There is something very satisfying about being able to identify the spectacular specimens one sees in abundance in the natural world. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in being better informed.
- Author: Ronald J. Taylor
- Editor: Kathleen Ort