Palouse Prairie Field Guide: An Introductory Guide to Native Plants, Agricultural Crops and Invasive Weeds for the Curious
By Dave M. Skinner, Jacie W. Jensen and Gerry Queener
Dedicated to Dave M Skinner, January 28, 2016
The Palouse Prairie Field Guide was conceived to help people identify many of the plants found in the prairie regions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana. This includes the Palouse Prairie, Rathdrum Prairie, Zumwalt Prairie, and Camas Prairie. Included in the Field Guide are the most common native plants of the Palouse Prairie, as well as the working agricultural fields. Near the end of the book are some “invasive non-native” plants that inhabit the Palouse. In addition to knowing the “good guys,” the authors felt the curious should be aware of the “bad guys” too.
It was the authors’ hope, through this introductory Palouse Field Guide, that the lines between all types of lands will blur. Each of us, whether native, agricultural, or urban landowners, or public-lands visitors, determine the future of all our lands. The Field Guide was made as a “carry along with you” book. The spiral binding and pocketable size (4” wide X 8.5” tall) should encourage the curious to include it on even the briefest of walks.
Representative color photographs and descriptions are provided of each plant. Information on the plant’s habitat, native range, bloom period and similar species are also included. Notes (notes of interest) are used to share interesting facts on a plant such as its interaction with birds, pollinators and people. Since a flower’s color is often the first attribute noticed, the Field Guide is first arranged by flower color, then alphabetically by family name and then with the most-used common name listed. Other common names are also listed. Scientific names are important but challenging so included is the pronunciation of each plant scientific name. The authors chose to follow the regional Consortium of the Pacific Northwest Herbariums for the scientific plant names of family, genus and species. To assist with the introduction of botanical terms given in the plant descriptions, botanical illustrations are provided in the beginning of the Field Guide and a glossary is located in the back.
Local native plant enthusiasts Dave M. Skinner, Jacie W. Jensen and Gerry Queener authored a field guide released on April 1, 2016 titled “Palouse Prairie Field Guide: An Introductory Guide to Native Plants, Agricultural Crops and Invasive Weeds for the Curious.”
The guide is the first to bring identity to native plants found in the Inland Northwest prairie regions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana, and also includes agricultural crops and invasive weeds to increase an awareness and appreciation for the land among readers.
“This is something I always wanted to do,” said Jensen, who operates Thorn Creek Native Seed Farm with her husband, Wayne. “So, I contacted Dave Skinner, a mentor and most knowledgeable Palouse native plant professional, and Gerry Queener, who was an educator and is native plant photographer. We wanted the field guide to blur the distinction between the agricultural and prairie lands and to show how we’ve all responsible for taking care of our lands.”
The guide uses introductory language and is organized first by color of the plants, second by family name and thirdly by common name. Scientific names are introduced with phonetic spellings. The guide is complete with photographs courtesy of various contributors and illustrations by young local artist Julianne Bledsoe, and is compact and practical in size and structure.
“We wanted it to be a take-along field guide that would fit in your back pocket, and spiral bound so that it could be easily opened while on the trail,” Jensen said.
It took approximately a year for the guide to come together. Jensen, Skinner and Queener met once or twice a week, and started with the wealth of information Skinner accumulated throughout his career. The guide is dedicated to Skinner, who passed away on January 28 at the age of 68.
“We had great discussions about native plants and our lands,” Jensen said. “We really enjoyed the process of bringing the information together.”
Jensen said she hopes they produce a second edition in the future.
Designed to assist landowners and plant enthusiasts identify native plants found in the Inland Northwest prairie regions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana. The guide also includes agricultural crops and invasive weeds to increase an awareness and appreciation for the land among readers.