This interpretive guide combines the best features of a printed field guide and an interactive computer program.
Detailed Studies of 258 Plants
For each plant, there is a
Plant Page showing an average of 6 photos with captions, and a wealth of detail information that you can quickly access by clicking on the appropriate icon, without covering the photos.
You can enlarge each photo for a better view on the
From each plant description, you can display a
plant-specific map, showing where in California that plant grows.
Information on 69 Plant Families
On the Family Pages, you will find a short description of the characteristics, distribution, and uses of the 69 plant
families that are represented in this interpretive guide. Most show one or more photos or illustrations.
Your Choice of Plant Lists
You choose the order in which the plants are listed by selecting one of the standard lists in the navigation panel (e.g., by name, family, or flower color). Within any list, you can quickly move from plant to plant with one click.
You can create your own list by using SEARCH.
Do you want to see a list of shrubs that flower in June? Or of plants that can resprout after fires? Which yellow annuals have compound leaves? Through the Search Function, you have a host of options that are useful for identification or to find plants for your garden. Your imagination is the limit. You can choose to see the results either by common name or by botanical name.
Glossary and Illustrations
Are you uncertain about the meaning of a botanical term? Just click on any underlined word and the
glossary window pops up. Besides the definition, it also contains illustrations of flower parts and leaf shapes.
Pronunciation of Botanical Names
While there is no standardized pronunciation of botanical names, you can listen to the names, spoken in a familiar American-English manner, by clicking on the Speaker icon.
Gardening with Native Plants
You can access general
gardening information through the list in the navigation panel,
as well as specific information for individual species through the Garden icon on the Plant and Photo Pages.
Plant-specific information on uses of plants by birds and butterflies may also help you in the selection of plants for a native plant garden. It is available through the Bird and Butterfly icons on the Plant and Photo Pages.
Natural History Information
You find information about the
San Gabriel Mountains, the value of plants to birds and butterflies, and discussion about
threats to our wildlands in the Natural History section. Climate and plant adaptations to drought and
fire are also addressed. You can find out about species-specific
response to fire by a click on the Fire icon.
You can use this section to refresh your memory about the basics of botany, including the Parts of a Vascular Plant and the major categories of plants that are covered in this CD: Flowering Plants, Conifers, and Ferns and Fern Allies. There is an illustrated summary of the Structure of a Flower. In addition, you can read about the recent changes to the major groups of flowering plants: the Monocots, the Eudicots, and the Magnoliids.
Test your identification skills with the Quiz button at the bottom of the screen. The “easy” option brings up a plant page, and the “harder” option brings up a photo page without the specific plant and family names. Get the right answers with a click, then move on randomly. This is fun to play with others, too!