Book

California's Fading Wildflowers

Richard Minnich

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253537
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934337 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520253537.001.0001
California's Fading Wildflowers

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Early Spanish explorers in the late eighteenth century found springtime California covered with spectacular carpets of wildflowers from San Francisco to San Diego. Yet today, invading plant species have devastated this nearly forgotten botanical heritage. The book synthesizes a unique and wide-ranging array of sources—from the historic accounts of those early explorers to the writings of early American botanists in the nineteenth century, newspaper accounts in the twentieth century, and modern ecological theory—to give the most comprehensive historical analysis available of the dramatic transformation of California's wildflower prairies. At the same time, this book challenges much current thinking on the subject, critically evaluating the hypothesis that perennial bunchgrasses were once a dominant feature of California's landscape. Instead, it argues that wildflowers filled this role. As the book examines the changes in the state's landscape over the past three centuries, it brings new perspectives to topics including restoration ecology, conservation, and fire management.

Keywords: Spanish explorers; California; wildflowers; botany; perennial bunchgrasses; restoration ecology; conservation; fire management

Book.  360 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Table of Contents

The Golden State in California's Fading Wildflowers

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Pre-Hispanic Herbaceous Vegetation in California's Fading Wildflowers

Chapter

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Lessons from the Rose Parade in California's Fading Wildflowers

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