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Flower guide helps amateurs

A landscape designer creates a brochure with photos of plants that might be seen in the woods near Jacksonville

Anyone who has ever struggled to tell a brodiaea from a blue dick will appreciate a new wildflower guide produced by the Jacksonville Woodlands Association.

Many wildflowers look similar to untrained eyes, and amateur botanists often lose their way in plant guides that include hundreds of species. The association's new brochure features only flowering plants that grow in the woods around Jacksonville.

Inspiration for the Visual Guide to Flowering Plants of the Jacksonville Woodlands came from Alan Horobin, a landscape designer who created a native plant arboretum behind Jacksonville's historic Beekman House. People who visited the arboretum wanted to know the names of plants, so Horobin decided to create a brochure with photographs of 75 plants that a hiker might see in the woods around town.

I chose the most showy ones, Horobin said, the ones that people would notice.

— Horobin conceived the guide for people who don't know much about wildflowers, but want to learn. If they see these flowers and learn what they're called, that will give them a good start. Most of the common ones are right there along the trails. They won't have to do a lot of looking.

The guide's usefulness extends far beyond Jacksonville, however. Horobin noted that many of the same wildflowers can be found in the low-elevation, mixed forests of oaks, conifers and madrones that are commonly found across Southern Oregon.

While it was written for the (Jacksonville) woodlands, it covers the whole valley, he said. It's handy to carry around to identify a lot of the flowers.

Horobin also included several non-native plants (star thistle, bull thistle, scotch broom, chicory, and mullein) because people will see them and want to know what they are. Toxic plants such as poison oak and death camas also are pictured.

The guide includes the scientific name of each plant, a common name and a color photo of the plant in bloom. Line drawings that identify flower parts will help budding botanists learn the vocabulary of plant identification.

Horobin provided most of the photographs; Jacksonville graphic designer Jim Marin produced the brochure.

Funding for the &

36;1,700 project came from money the Woodlands Association gathered during events such as its annual Hike-a-thon, said Larry Smith, president of the nonprofit organization. Proceeds from the sale of the 3,000 brochures will benefit the group's projects in the Jacksonville woods.

Smith said the cool, damp weather this spring should encourage many wildflowers to bloom this season. Early-season flowers such as shooting stars and fawn lilies that often fade with the first flash of heat are still blooming. Buttercups, hounds tongue, and trillium are also flowering happily in the spring showers. Others will follow as the days lengthen and the soil warms.

The flowers will be terrific over the next three or four weeks, Smith said, and you can get close to them here on the Jacksonville trails.

Get the brochure

The Visual Guide to Flowering Plants of the Jacksonville Woodlands is available for &

36;2 at Jacksonville's information center in the train depot behind the post office. It's also available at self-serve boxes at trailheads in the woods around Jacksonville, and at the Northwest Nature Shop in Ashland.