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If you are going to buy just one plant guide (and you live in BC), get the Lone Pine one. There’s one for every region and I love them all. In addition to the usual ID stuff, they also cover traditional uses, ecological values, natural history. I owned this for years before buying any edible plant books.
There are a lot of bird guides around, but I have always stood by my Sibley. When it comes to birds, I prefer drawing to photos so I can see the different morphs and seasonal markings, which Sibley does a great job of covering. The format is intuitive and for beginners and advanced birders alike. My copy is a well worn, dog-eared staple. Eastern and Complete North America copies are available, though the complete addition is pretty bulky.
Food Plants of Coastal First People, Nancy J. Turner. ISBN 978-0-7726-5527-8
The Royal BC Museum publishes a wide array of nature and ethnobotany books with good reputations. This is my favourite because I live in coastal BC and like food. The old ones with matte green covers are pretty much collector’s items and worth your while if you happen across one at a garage sale or used book store.
The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North, Beverly Gray. ISBN 978-0-9868271-0-5
This book might be one of my favourite books on my shelf. Even now that I no longer live in the north, I often find myself using it for reference. It’s very comprehensive and easy to use with identification, recipes for food and medicines, explanations of medicinal properties, and tons of extra information.
The SAS Survival Handbook, John “Lofty Wiseman. ISBN 978-0061992865
This was perhaps my favourite book as a child. I spent hours poring over the images of edible plants, shelters, traps and other tricks to survival. Call it nostalgia if you must, but with may other bushcraft books on my shelf, this is still my favourite.
Did I Forget Something? Tell me about your favourite resources