Canopy’s ultimate reading list: California Edition

By Canopy Team on March 3, 2022

California Arbor Week is March 7-14, and this month’s contribution to the list of our favorite tree books includes guides to native California plants, works featuring the iconic trees found in our forests, and books chronicling the history of California trees.

Trees in Paradise by Jared Farmer

Trees in Paradise: A California History by Jared Farmer

California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This book chronicles the changes in CA’s trees, from post-Gold Rush plantings of imported species and fruit orchards, to redwood logging, to the present.

Buy it

California Plants: A Guide to Our Iconic Flora by Matt Ritter

With his vibrant photographs and lively writing, Ritter takes the reader on a journey through California’s iconic landscapes and abundant plant life. This guide features more than 500 species, along with descriptions and tree and wildflower identification charts.

Buy it

The Forests of California by Obi Kaufmann

Kaufmann tells an epic story that spans millions of years, nearly one hundred species of trees, and an astonishing richness of ecosystems. Includes Kaufmann’s signature watercolor maps and trail paintings.

Buy it

King Sequoia: The Tree That Inspired a Nation, Created Our National Park System, and Changed the Way We Think about Nature by William C. Tweed

Former park ranger William C. Tweed takes readers on a tour of the Big Trees in a narrative that travels deep into the Sierras, around the West, and all the way to New Zealand; and in doing so he explores the American public’s evolving relationship with sequoias.

Buy it

A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us by Matt Ritter

Features over 150 of California’s most commonly grown trees. Used as a field guide or read with pleasure for the liveliness of the prose, this book will allow readers to learn the stories behind the trees that shade our parks, grace our yards, and line our streets.

Buy it

Redwood: A Guide to Leading a Remarkable Life by Adam Griffin

This book explores the nature of growth and the conditions needed to lead a remarkable life. Like the redwoods, it’s a recipe for leaving a mark and creating a vision that stays with others for the rest of their lives. It’s the recipe for being a redwood, leaving others in awe.

Buy it

Where to find these books:

  1. The library: Visiting the local library is our favorite way to support a community institution and promoting reuse rather than new production of trees into paper.
  2. Second-hand bookstore: Can’t find these at your library but want to support a local business? Find a used bookstore and help give these pre-owned paperbacks new life.
  3. Local bookstore: Okay, okay. My library doesn’t own this book and the used bookstore doesn’t have it in stock – what now? With many of the recommendations, we’ve linked to the book on the Books Inc. website, an independently owned and operated bookseller with 10 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and a history dating back to the Gold Rush Days of 1851.

Happy reading!

Other topics in this series: Plant wisdom, Black History Month, Earth Month, Photo books, National Field Guides, Narrative books

Sign up for local tree news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Sign Up

Recent Posts