Tuesday, November 14, 2017

National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of North America by Bland Crowder

The first thing that grabbed my attention about this small, pocket-size, guide was the beautiful photo of the trunk of a majestic Sequoia on the cover. That was enough to make me browse this handy, helpful little tree guide. 95% of this book is dedicated to specific breeds or varieties of trees. The remaining 5% covers general tree-growing information, including charts showing growing zones throughout the U.S. and Canada.

But it is the tree identification pages that are the most fun to page through. Each tree gets a single page in the book, with one large photo of a sample of the tree, fully leafed out. At the top of each page is the tree’s scientific name and its common average height. Accompanying the photo in the middle of each page is a list of “Key Facts”, including info about the tree’s general appearance, the leaves, the flowers/fruits and the growing range (i.e. where in the country you’ll find this variety). The bottom half of the page features a more detailed description of the nature of the tree — things about its appearance, growing pattern, root system, etc., accompanied by artists’ renderings of samples of the leaves, seeds/nuts and/or blooms.

Admittedly, the small size of this volume means that there are not detailed full-length articles about each type of tree, but the libraries have plenty of other books that go into more detail. If you’re looking for a simple, portable guide, perhaps to take while on a leisure hike on a wilderness trail, this will help you identify the trees you encounter, with helpful clear illustrations.

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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