BOOK REVIEW (& Giveaway!): Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests

Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests, by Edward C. Jensen (Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Extension Service, 2013), 148 pp.

Earlier this year I posted about a well-respected field guide, Tree to Know in Oregon. The author has just published a companion guide to shrubs. Shrubs to Know is organized for the most part just like Trees to Know, except that species descriptions are organized alphabetically rather than in taxonomic groups. Here Jensen has included about 100 species of native shrubs, leaving out ornamental and agricultural species except those that are native. Each description includes information on the form of the shrub, its leaves, flowers/fruit, twigs/bark, range/habitat, ecological/historical/cultural notes, and information about the name. Color photographs of the different parts of each shrub are provided as well.

The introduction includes a wealth of information on identifying shrubs, scientific names, edibility, fire response, range and habitat, definitions of native vs. invasive, and descriptions of shrub communities in the region. Following the introduction are an illustrated terms glossary and a key for identifying species based largely on leaf characteristics. I know some people who do not use any other guide for tree identification in Oregon than Trees to Know and absolutely love their copies. Hopefully, this shrub companion will likewise become a treasured book on the shelf or in the backpack of botanists, educators, and natural history buffs all around the region.

I now have two things to tell you about Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests:

1. To celebrate the holidays, the OSU-Extension Service is currently having a sale through January 5, 2014, offering both Trees to Know in Oregon and Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests for $25, a discount of $5 (click on the image to order):

2. The OSU-Extension Service kindly sent me a copy of Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests to do a giveaway on my blog:

The giveaway:

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests, please comment on this post telling me what your favorite shrub is or a cool fact about a shrub. From the entries I will randomly pick a winner. The contest will be open until Sunday, December 15, midnight PST. If you would like to enter without commenting on the blog, you can send me an email at darwinsbulldog AT gmail DOT com. Good luck!

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15 Responses to BOOK REVIEW (& Giveaway!): Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests

  1. Isabel says:

    This is one of my favorite plants to show students when we’re learning about the importance of native plants, biodiversity, and/or invasive plant removal. Snowberry’s small white and pink bell-shaped flowers bloom in mid-late July through August providing nectar to a variety of native pollinators. Pollinated flowers turn into small white fruit which hang until spring feeding birds through the winter.

  2. Marjorie Glass says:

    My favorite shrub is manzanita because of its beautiful bark and evergreen broadleaves. Its pink flowers are edible and actually quite tasty. It is common here on the east side of the Cascades in Ponderosa forests.

  3. I love Rhododendrons because of their magnificent spring blossoms! I grew up looking out at the one in my parents’ backyard every morning at breakfast time. It’s the perfect sign of spring 🙂

  4. My recent favorite, of which I have 3 planted in my yard – Pacific waxmyrtle. Broadleaved evergreen & fast growing — good for screening use, hardy, and a native species — berries attract birds. Just perfect.

  5. Ashley says:

    Kinnickkinnick, because it can photosynthesize underneath snow.

  6. I love Salal. It’s hard to get it to grow in a garden, but it supports chanterelles and when it gets the right conditions, it makes some yummy fruit!

    • Any tips on growing salal in the garden? I have a handful of starts coming from the Tryon Creek Watershed Council for my backyard, which resembles salal’s natural conditions, so I assumed it would be ok. Now a bit worried! 🙂

  7. Personally, I am a BIG fan of snowberry, both for its habitat value (great winter food source for birds, much safer than some alternatives like nandina, which can be toxic) and its appearance. It isn’t something we had where I come from (mid-west) and its such a lovely substitute for the over-played, parasitic, and disgustingly named weed hung over doors every holiday season, mistletoe. (What to know what mistletoe means? Check out the decorating tips here to find out. You’ll never kiss under it again…)

  8. Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) is a personal favorite, and it’s planted to surround our outdoor classroom here at Gilbert Park Elementary. It smells heavenly and looks beautiful in late spring, and the plant materials have a variety of uses–the flowers and leaves produce a lather, and the stems produce strong, straight shafts perfect for arrows or knitting needles.

  9. Elisa Joy Payne says:

    It’s really hard for me to choose a favorite native shrub, but I really do love mock orange. I have one planted outside my bedroom window, and it always starts blooming around the time it gets warm enough to leave the windows open. The amazing, delicate fragrance is strongest in the evening when we are heading to bed.

  10. One of my favorite shrubs has to be the native huckleberries because we used to spend a lot of time in my youth collecting them in the forest. We then would make huckleberry pancakes the next morning and there’s nothing better than eating fresh berries hand collected! YUM!

  11. Greg Creager says:

    For shrubs to know, my pick as favorite is poison-oak. Lovely and allergy-inducing year-round from new green leaves to red in fall and bare stems in winter.

  12. darwinsbulldog says:

    And the winner of Shrubs to Know is Julie. Thank you all for entering!

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