Yup, there’s a new identification book out by David Sibley but it’s not a bird book…this time it’s on Trees! As far as I know, this is the first non-bird book that David has written and indeed, I think it will be really useful. Sure, there are pros and cons to the guide, as there with every one out there, but overall I like it.
He starts the book with general terminology for tree identification, has drawings of the different types of leaves, flowers and bark we will encounter, and then gets right into the families and species of trees themselves.
Each section starts with an overview of the family and then the pages that follow go into the details of each species, including range maps, drawings of the leaves (in different seasons), flowers and fruit. He also includes drawings of the bark and trunks and shapes of the trees and includes general characteristics on the species that aid with identification.
I also really like that for each species he indicates if it’s native to the US and if not, where it came from. In many cases, he shares interesting information such as survival tactics used by specific trees or information on how people have used the tree in years gone by.
One thing that would have been nice with this book is an identification key – the way David intended this book was for you to flip through it looking at the drawings to narrow down the identification. This is ok if you already know the family but trickier if it’s a completely unknown tree.
Definitely a neat tree book to have on-hand though as we try to identify them through the seasons! Oh, and in good naturalist form, he includes a full checklist of the different species at the back of the book so we can check off our sightings 🙂