Plants of the Tahoe Basin by Michael Graf

May 2, 2017

“Plants of the Tahoe Basin” by Michael Graf is a comprehensive illustrated guide to the trees, ferns, and flowering plants of the Tahoe Basin. […]

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The Village Nursery in Truckee highly recommends this pocket field guide for the Truckee-Donner area.

Here’s what the publishers at University of California Press have to say about the guide:

Covering more than 600 species, many of them rare, and with over 300 color photographs, here is the most complete and up-to-date wildflower guide available for this floristically rich region.

Michael Graf discusses native higher vascular plants: flowering plants, ferns and their allies, and conifers. He covers the Tahoe region from Desolation Wilderness in the west to the Carson Range in the east and includes Donner Lake and Pass, Sagehen Meadows, Castle Peak, Pole Creek, Shirley Canyon, Granite Chief, and Alpine Meadows in the north; and Hope Valley and Carson and Luther Passes in the south. Each of these areas represents extensions of Tahoe Basin plant communities, and the entire region offers spectacular wildflower viewing.

The book is arranged taxonomically, thereby helping readers to develop a basic understanding of plant families, genera, and species. Each species account includes size, bloom period, and preferred habitat, and a full description follows, including clues for identification, notes on where to view the plant, use by humans, and additional ecological information. An introductory section discusses the evolutionary principles of plant taxonomy and the geologic and climatic history of the Tahoe Basin, its vegetative ecology, and its environmental history from the time of the Washoe Indians to the present.

An appendix provides a family key, a glossary, and drawings of plant anatomy. Throughout the book, taxonomic information is based on the 1993 edition of the Jepson Manual. With its clear descriptions, beautiful photographs, and information on everything from pollination to conservation, this book should be in the backpack of anyone who loves wildflowers, from amateur to professional field biologist.

mariposa-lillyMichael Graf has spent much of his life in Tahoe, hiking the back-country and exploring and photographing its natural wonders. He has a law degree and a Masters in Environmental Science and Policy. He lives in Berkeley.