From the time I was a kid, I’ve been a casual botanist. I couldn’t help it really – my parents were always keying flowers and quizzing me to see if I remembered their names. After a time dabbling in art, I went to college where I earned an undergraduate degree in botany – a decade ago, in a different state. For a while I even used my degree professionally, but then life took a different course. Since moving home to California I’ve been frustrated by how hard it is to learn the local flora without the discipline of work or school to help me out. But this spring, I’ve decided to get serious. I’ll learn one new plant a day, that’s the goal. And if you like, you can come along on the ride with me.
My method will surely change, but for now the plan consists of two steps. First, pick a plant every day and learn its common and scientific name. Second, take a notebook with me when I go out hiking. In it I will identify as many plants as I can, by whatever name I can. If I can learn a new plant or two while I’m out, even better. The idea is that I will see the number and detail of my identifications go up as time goes on.