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Introduction to California Soils and Plants

Serpentine, Vernal Pools, and Other Geobotanical Wonders

Arthur R. Kruckeberg (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 296 pages
ISBN: 9780520233720
September 2006
$24.95, £20.00
Carnivorous pitcher plants, pygmy conifers, and the Tiburon jewel flower, restricted to a small patch of serpentine soil on Tiburon Peninsula in Marin County, are just a few of California's many amazing endemic plants—species that are unique to particular locales. California boasts an abundance of endemic plants precisely because it also boasts the richest geologic diversity of any place in North America, perhaps in the world. In lively prose, Arthur Kruckeberg gives a geologic travelogue of California's unusual soils and land forms and their associated plants—including serpentines, carbonate rocks, salt marshes, salt flats, and vernal pools—demonstrating along the way how geology shapes plant life. Adding a fascinating chapter to the story of California's remarkable biodiversity, this accessible book also draws our attention to the pressing need for conservation of the state's many rare and fascinating plants and habitats.

*148 outstanding, accurate photographs, more than 100 incolor, illustrate California's diverse flora

*Covers a wide range of locations including the Channel Islands, the Central Valley, wetlands, bristlecone pine forests, and bogs and fens

*Provides selected trip itineraries for viewing the state's geobotanical wonders

*Includes information on human influences on the California landscape from the early Spanish explores through the gold rush and to the present
Introduction: How Geology Shapes Plant Life

Chapter 1. Land Forms and Plant Life

Chapter 2. Plants and Their Soils

Chapter 3. The Serpentine Story

Chapter 4. Other Strange Plant-Soil Relationships

Chapter 5. Plant Distribution over Space and Time

Chapter 6. Human Influences

Epilogue: Geology Gone Wild
Exploring California’s Geology and Plant Life
Arthur R. Kruckeberg, Professor Emeritus of Botany at the University of Washington, is author of Best Wildflower Hikes: Washington (2004) Geology and Plant Life (2002), Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest (1996), Natural History of Puget Sound (1995), and California Serpentines: Flora, Vegetation, Geology, Soils (California, 1985).
“Very readable . . . the perfect way to obtain a greater understanding of California’s remarkable biodiversity.”—Midwest Book Reviews
“Very readable . . . the perfect way to obtain a greater understanding of California’s remarkable biodiversity.”—Watsonville Register-Pajaronian
"Having spent time in the field with Professor Kruckeberg, I can attest to his uncanny ability to locate a rare plant not by looking for the plant itself, but by having an almost empathetic sense of its preferred habitat. Now he shares his decades of natural history experience by taking us on a virtual tour of California's incredibly diverse flora, bringing life to the equally diverse geology underneath. For those who want to go beyond knowing plant communities to understanding them, Art Kruckeberg's latest book is essential."—Toby Bradshaw, Washington Research Foundation Professor of Basic Biological Science, University of Washington

"Best known for his comprehensive lifetime's work on serpentine plants, Arthur Kruckeberg here addresses how all of what he lovingly calls "kooky soils"—serpentine, gabbro, carbonates, volcanics, vernal pools and others—have shaped California's outstandingly rich flora. In an eminently readable and enthusiastic style, he helps us to see the patterns of interconnectedness among rocks, landforms, soils, vegetation, and plant species. All California naturalists, from the amateur to the overspecialized professional scientist, will come away enriched by his remarkable perspective."—Susan Harrison, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis

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