There are many books and websites that provide information on California wildflowers. Here are a few to get you started.



Beware! Some locally-published guides have pretty pictures but the plants may have been misidentified. Check to make sure that a professional botanist has verified the identifications before trusting these books. Field guides from recognized national publishing houses, the University of California Press, and those offered by the California Native Plant Society are reliable.

  • The California Native Plant Society sells a variety of books, CD-ROMS, and videos for specific regions of California.
  • A good general reference that covers the entire Central California region is in the Peterson field guide series: A Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers: Washington, Oregon, California and adjacent areas by Niehaus & Ripper.  This field guide includes illustrations and fairly simple keys for plant identification.
  • The most comprehensive, scientifically accurate reference book for California plants is The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California edited by James C. Hickman.  However, it is highly technical and requires a knowledge of botany to be useful. The current edition was published in 1993.  A link opens in new tab or windownew edition is in process and should be available in 2008.