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Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs

Articles: Flora of the Santa Ana River and Environs

Oscar Clarke and his co-authors, Danielle Svehla, Greg Ballmer, and Arlee Montalvo, have produced a unique and compelling guide to the flora of the lower Santa Ana River watershed from the base of the mountains (about 3,000’ elevation) to the coast, and comprising portions of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Orange counties. Not only is this book a guide to the individual plants of the area (over 1000 are covered), it is a synthesis of the current state of plant phylogeny (what plants are related to one another, and at what level). The book itself is a bit large for taking into the field, but will provide ample reward for those who stash it in their daypacks.

Clarke states at the outset (page vii), “My approach to the interpretation of plant life forms and the identification of individual species is largely based on comparative anatomy, as it is visually perceived . . . . As a general botanist, I have never been satisfied by only knowing the name of an organism without associating it with its relatives and seeing it within the evolutionary continuum.” It is clear that this book has been organized and produced to directly address these concerns, and in doing so, it is an unequivo...

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