blog

Desert Herbarium Book Release

July 28, 2018

This June I released a book called Desert Herbarium: Plants of the Modern Mojave & Neighboring Deserts. It's published by photos of the book on its page on my website, or even Cactus Mart, which happens to be where I work and is the reason the book exists. Our customers often want to know what plants grow well in the desert, and it became time to pull our knowledge together and fill that void our customers were looking for.

I didn't want to create just a desert plant guide. I wanted a fun and interactive way for people to get involved with the plants. So the idea of a hebarium based book came to mind. Not only are plant pressings beautiful, they also play an important role in studying plants including how they adapt and where they are found. Herbaria keep a record of this data, something that's important to track as our area gets hotter and is under threat by different types of development and impacted by population and popularity growth.

Desert Herbarium is a collection of native plants, naturalized plants (non-native plants that reproduce and spread naturally without the help of humans), and plants that successfully grow in desert conditions. Each plant has its own page spread. One side of the spread gives the common and scientific names, an illustration of the plant (by me), and information about the plant including Native American uses. The other side of the spread is a "Collection Page" which has a place to glue the collected plant specimen once dried and a place to record some basic collection data.

There are a few blank pages in the center of the book allowing for plant pressings. It's an all-in-one kit for pressing and mounting plant specimens. You then end up with your own personal herbarium. Desert Herbarium participants are also encouraged to send photos of their mounted specimens to the online collection at desertherbarium.com. You can view more photos of the book, or even purchase a copy of it for yourself.

Desert Herbarium book cover

Pressed Desert Globemallow mounted in Desert Herbarium book

Desert Herbarium Pressing Page

Pressed Desert Willow leaves and flower about to be mounted in Desert Herbarium book

Pressed Desert Marigold mounted in Desert Herbarium book