Whether one is foraging for food or wild crafting medicinal herbs, the primary botanical reference for our region is “Botany in a Day” by Thomas J. Elpel. It is extremely well written and user friendly. Several of the following internet sites build off the foundation of this book. It should be the #1 botanical reference purchased by any beginning forager or herbalist. It was recently updated with a 6th edition published in May, 2013. This newest version has color illustrations and updated family and genera names. This book is referred to often during our herb programs.
Shanleya’s Quest by Thomas J Elpel
Originally written as an intro to botany for the author’s daughter, this is an excellent book for any age reader for introducing the ideas of Family, Genus and Species. Wonderfully illustrated in color, I estimate the book to be accessible to folks 10 and older. While the “picture book” format may seem oversimplified at first, there are solid botanical principles shared throughout the story. I know many adults who were initially overwhelmed by a college level textbook yet were able to begin their study of botany through this book.
Botany on the Internet
A 46 minute video by Tom Elpel teaching how to use the book “Botany in a Day”. Well worth your time.
Although this site is not directly connected to Tom Elpel or his book, it fits in nicely with the “Botany in a Day” format and is well worth a look. This site is a good way to learn basic botanical terms and concepts that can be readily applied to herbs and edibles.
Tom Elpel’s website which includes extensive tips and guidance for using the “Botany in a Day” book.
An online botany course which references “Botany in a Day” as one of its major sources. This course is user friendly for herbalists and foragers but goes beyond these two areas and is relevant to anyone interested in the botany field.
Outstanding resource for plant identification. This FB page has global membership and all levels are welcome. There are some incredible botanists on this page.