Bio-Regional Field Guides for North America

North American Bio-regional Field Guide/Resource List

NOTE: This list is not meant to inform you of Kamana resource replacements, but to inform you of resources that can supplement and/or enhance your bio-regional research.

Please help us! If you want to add to this list of resources we already have for a bio-region OR give us information for a bio-region not listed here, please email the information to:

Thanks to the Kamana students that supplied this list. Some resources or ISBN numbers might be out of date.


Shrubs and Trees of Southwest Deserts

Bowers and Wignail

Shrubs and Trees of Southwest Uplands

Elmore and Janish

Both of these books are good for western Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

Plants of Arizona

Anne Orm Epple

William W. Dunmire and Gail D. Tierney put together two books that are just awesome

Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four Corners

(1997 Museum of New Mexico Press)

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province

Both books look at common plants of the Southwest with a description of how they were used by the various native peoples in the region. The Pueblo Province book was published first and is pretty narrowly focused on the Rim and Canyon country around Santa Fe, NM and all the Pueblos. They got such a good response to that book that they put together the one encompassing the Four Corners region (NM, AZ, CO, UT). I sincerely wish that there were books like these for every region of the country.

Flowering Plants of the Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California

Nancy Dalp. Capra Press 1986?

Indispensable for life from Santa Barbara to Tijuana (and regions south).

Reptiles and Amphibians of New Mexico

Northwest US and Western Canada

Some great books by Nancy Turner:

Plant Technology of First Peoples in British Columbia

Food Plants of British Columbia Indians-Coastal Peoples

Food Plants of British Columbia Indians-Interior Peoples

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast

Pojar, Mackinnon (See our store on to order)

Northwestern Wild Berries

J.E. Underhill. ISBN 0888390270

Atlas of Oregon Wildlife

Csuti, Kimerling, O’Neil et al. Oregon State University Press 1997.

Trees to Know in Oregon

Oregon State University. Extension Service and Oregon Dept. of Forestry reprinted Nov 1995

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest

Peter Alden and Dennis Paulson. 1998

Weeds of the West Tom Whitson

The Western Society of Weed Science, 2000. ISBN 0756711827

Good photographs and info.

All Timber Press Field Guides

(Some highlighted guides below)

  • Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest
  • Insects of the Pacific Northwest
  • Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest
  • Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest (by our own David Moskowitz)

General Eastern

NOTE: This list is pretty thin. Part of the reason for this is because our required resources cover most of these guides.

Smithsonian Handbook “Birds of North America-Eastern Region”

Fred Alsop III


Field Guide to Coastal Wetland Plants of the Southeastern United States

Ralph W. Tiner. ISBN 0-87023-833-7

Seaside Plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts

Duncan and Duncan ISBN 0-87474-387-7

Louisiana Conservationist magazine

Published by LA Wildlife and Fisheries

Calendar great for info on migrations, fishing, birds, blooming plants etc.


Flora of Glacier National Park

A regional field guide for botanists, not lay people, that contained a listing of every species of wildflower that grows in my bio-region. This proved to be an amazing resource for Kamana 3 and 4.

Colorado Flora – Western Slope

Weber and Whitman. This volume is very complete but very scholarly and uses lots of botanical jargon.

Central Rocky Mountain Wildflowers

H. Wayne Phillips. 1999, Falcon Publishing Co.

Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Rockies

Linda Kershaw. 2000, Lone Pine Publishing ISBN 1-55105-229-6

I have found that the local conservation departments have some wonderful reference materials for regions and states. They also provide some good connections on where to find other information about very specific regions. A lot of my reference materials come from them. Check out my conservation department at and click on the store button. You will find a wide selection of books and tapes as well as free pamphlets about some things like wasps and mushrooms.

The Guide to Colorado Birds

Mary Taylor Gray. This is our “go to” book for the first look at a new bird in our area.

Bagging Big Bugs: How to Identify, Collect and Display the Largest and Most Colorful Insects of the Rocky Mountain Region

Cranshaw and Knodratieff. 1995, Fulcrum Publishing ISBN 1-55591-178-1

Mammals of Colorado

Fitzgerald, et al, Denver Museum of Natural History, 1994, ISBN 0-87081-333-1

Mammals of the Rocky Mountains

Fisher, Pattie, Hartson. 2000, Lone Pine Publishing.

Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains

H.D. Harrington. It provides native lore about the plants, many different uses for them, and even includes some recipes.

Guide to Colorado Wildflowers

Volume 1 Plains & Foothills, ISBN 1-56579-118- 5

Volume 2 Mountains, ISBN 1-56579-119-3

Guennel, G.K. 1995, Westcliffe Publisher. Photographs and watercolor for each plant, as well as descriptive info.

Rocky Mountain Flower Finder

Janet Wingate. 1990, Nature Study Guild Publisher ISBN 0-912550-20-1

Easy to use key, small enough to fit into your pocket.

Best-Tasting Plants of Colorado and the Rockies

“Cattail” Bob Seebeck. 1998, Westcliffe Publishers, ISBN 1-56579-275-0

Shows the plants in 4 stages of growth. The author also gives great plant walks!

Grassland to Glacier

Mutel and Emerick. 1992, Johnson Books ISBN 1-55566-089-4

Great on ecological systems that we have in Colorado, from plains to alpine. Extensive discussions on the different climates, plants and animals for each area.

Sagebrush Country: A Wildflower Sanctuary

Ronald J Taylor. Mountain Press Publishing Co. 1992.

Idaho Mountain Wildflowers

A. Scott Earle, 2001.

Plants of the Rocky Mountains

Kershaw, MacKinnon, Pojar. 1998, Lone Pine ISBN 1-55105-088-9

Good description and pictures of the plants, as well as some ethnobotany info. Their book of coastal plants is a staple for us here in the northwest.

Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary

James Harris, Melinda Harris. 1994 and 2001. This is a Kamana Four-type book but VERY awesome!

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West

Gregory Tilford. 1997.

Northwest Trees: Identifying and Understanding the Region’s Native Trees

Stephen Arno and Ramona Hammerly. 1977, The Mountaineers ISBN 0-916890-50-3

“My very favorite.”