by Glenn Keator, University of California Press, 2002, 251 pages, $14.95 (www.ucpress.edu).
Bay Area botanist Glenn Keator, author of The Life of an Oak: An Intimate Portrait (Heyday Books, 1998), has now assembled the well-written, easy-to-use Introduction to Trees of the San Francisco Bay Region. The guide is part of UC Press’s venerable California Natural History Guides series. Originally launched in 1959, the series was relaunched in February 2003 to systematically update older volumes and increase the publication rate of new books in the series. This book is one of the new Introductory Guides, field guides that are portable, selective (rather than compre-hensive), and accessible to a general audience.
Central to this guide—which covers only native and naturally occurring species—is the Species Accounts section, with 250 vivid photos of trees in the nine Bay Area counties, plus Mendocino, Santa Cruz, and Monterey. The photos appear alongside graceful, clear descriptions. Crisp line drawings highlight trees’ distinguishing features such as leaves, cones, and fruits. The introduction includes a discussion of tree names and characteristics, and a review of local habitats and ongoing threats _to them. Also useful are the key to Bay Area trees, and the map section covering selected sites to help you find the trees mentioned in the text.