Canopy’s ultimate reading list: National Field Guides

By Canopy Team on June 1, 2022

collage of tree-themed book covers

Grab one of our favorite field guides and escape the indoors during national Great Outdoors Month this June.

Book cover of the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Trees

National Audubon Society: Field Guide to Trees, Western Region by Elbert L. Little

A compact and comprehensive field guide of 700 species of trees, detailed in beautiful, full-color photographs of leaf shape, bark, flowers, fruit, and fall leaves, and accompanied by informative text. For beginners and advanced tree-peepers.

Buy it

Three tall redwoods against a blue sky on the cover of the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America.

National Wildlife Federation: Field Guide to Trees of North America by Kershner, Mathews, Nelson & Spellenberg

This single, portable volume features more than 700 tree species and varieties, with special emphasis on their leaves, bark, fruits, and flowers. More than 2,000 stunning images show these trees in their natural habitats. The guide has a waterproof cover.

Buy it (online only)

Deciduous tree on a white background on the cover of the Sibley Guide to Trees.

The Sibley Guide to Trees (Sibley Guides) by David Allen Sibley

An astonishingly elegant guide to a complex subject. With more than 4,100 meticulous, exquisitely detailed paintings, the Guide highlights the often subtle similarities and distinctions between more than 600 tree species native trees as well as many introduced species.

Buy it

A tall tree on the book cover of National Audubon Society: Field Guide to Trees, Western Region

The Tree Book: Superior Selections for Landscapes, Streetscapes, and Gardens by Michael A. Dirr and Keith S. Warren

“A boon to all those who plant, care for, and love trees.”—Nina Bassuk, author of Trees in the Urban Landscape.

The Tree Book is the go-to reference for more than 2,400 species and cultivars, from two of the biggest names in horticulture.

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, California edition, Earth Month, Photo Books, National Field Guides, Narrative books

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