How To Identify Spring Flowers

-posted by Nicole S.

If you are like me, you stop and smell flowers. From swampy skunk cabbage to the lovely rose, we are lucky to live in a temperate climate and a city of horticulturists – where flowers abound year round. But if you are also like me, you do not know many plant names or flowering times. Yet wouldn’t we all like to shower our friends with Latin nomenclature while out walking our neighborhoods (Narcissus poeticus sounds so much cooler than “daffodil”)?

This spring, dig a little deeper into botany and plant identification with these books from our catalog:

Seeing Flowers: Discover the Hidden Life of Flowers cover imageSeeing Flowers: Discover the Hidden Life of Flowers by Terri Dunn Chace.

Beautiful macrophotography, poetry, stories and facts about 343 popular flowers and 28 plant families – many of which are sure to be found in Seattle gardens.

“Ice cream on green cones
White hydrangeas in full bloom
Cool the summer day”
–C.D. Sinex, 2011, page 146

Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest cover imageWildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner.
If you are more interested in learning the flowers you can see while hiking you may prefer this guide book, which is organized by flower colors. It is a classic text used by plant enthusiasts. Just google any botanical terms you do not recognize.


Practical Botany for Gardeners cover imagePractical Botany for Gardeners: Over 3,000 Botanical Terms Explained and Explored by Geoff Hodge.
This book could make a nice companion alongside any plant identification book. It also teaches you about the history of plants, and plant behavior. Gardening experience not required.


Nonsense Botany cover imageNonsense Botany, And Nonsense Alphabets, Etc, Etc by Edward Lear.
Sketches and silly words to make plants fun for children of all ages. Includes plant drawings of Queeriflora babyoides, Manypeeplia upsidownia, and Barkia Howlalowdia.


Botany in a Day cover imageBotany in a Day by Thomas Elpel.
Learn patterns and tricks which may help you increase memory retention. (Note: You could possibly learn botany in a day if you totally committed yourself to a 24 hour period to finish the whole textbook. Hey, why not? Otherwise, you might try to learn botany in three weeks, before you have to return your library book again.)

Now go forth! And see if you identify this species right outside the University Branch:

Flowering tree outside the University branch
Flowering tree outside the University Branch

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