Baja California Plant Field Guide
By Jack E. George
If you are interested in the unique landscaping found in the Baja California peninsula, then you will be delighted to read the recent release of the 3rd edition of Baja California Plant Field Guide. Since Baja offers one of the most outstanding landscapes in the world, authors Jon P. Rebman and the late Norman C. Roberts have written a unique book on the numerous plants found in the area. Richard Felger, a Baja resident for 10 years, and an enthusiast of the landscape, says, "This is the finest field guide I have had the privilege to use." The book presents more than 715 different plants living in the region. Amazingly, nearly 45% of these are included for the first time in this edition. The second edition, written by Roberts, was published in 1989. The first edition was also written by Roberts and biologist, Jeanette Coyle. It was published in 1975.
The latest edition is considered to be a definitive work on the plants of Baja California. Along with the 715 plants identified there is also information on the 111 different families from which they originated. Many of the names are given in both English and Spanish. The 6" x 9" book is flex-bound and offers 448 pages of detailed information for both the novice as well as the advanced botanist interested in having a better understanding of the various species found in this specific area. Lisa Gulick, a spokesperson for Sunbelt Publications, located in San Diego, CA the publisher of the book, said that sales of the third edition have been brisk. She said that Dr. Rebman has taken a very active role in promotion by offering lectures all across the United States and Baja. The author recently held a book signing in Tijuana and he sold all of the copies he had brought with him. Dr. Rebman plans to return to Baja, for another book signing, in November. The event will be held at CEARTE. Anyone interested in attending the event is encouraged to go to Sunbelt Publications' website and the event, along with his other public appearances, are listed there. The public is also invited to attend the Sunbelt Holiday Open House Party, on December 6. Dr. Rebman will be attending this event. Detailed information is provided on their web site.
Jeannine Perez, a writer with the Gringo Gazette, has nothing but praise for the book. She explains that the first and second editions were nicknamed "The Baja Plant Bible." This was due to the fact that no other guide offered so much detailed and specific information. The first edition, which is out of print, still remains in demand; the second edition continues to enjoy a healthy number of sales each year. Perez, who also owns El Caballo Bookstore, in Loreto, stated, "We could find no other book covering the same information as the ones by Roberts." She points out that the new edition is truly user-friendly and contains a wealth of information. Perez said her bookstore continually runs out of stock of the book which retails for $35.
Norman Roberts was a biologist as well as a frequent traveler and noted authority, in the Baja California peninsula, which he explored for more than 50 years. Aside from this book he was the author of a number of articles, along with two books, associated with the region. He looked forward to the latest release; unfortunately, he passed away prior to the book going to print. Even so, he authored one of the chapters in the latest edition. The chapter explains the desert climates; including temperatures, wind, rain, fog, and so forth. The chapter includes information on global climate changes. Roberts was considered an ardent conservationist. Although his career started as a veterinarian he spent much of his life exploring Baja. He had a hunger to learn about all of the history and natural resources. Writer Perez read a tribute to Norman Roberts, during his service, which was written by his daughter, that ended, "...take this book, marvel at the plants and biodiversity...you won't regret it and when you get there...tell Norman thanks!"
Author Jon P. Rebman, has been curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum (the history museum is a partner in the publication of the third edition), since 1996. He has been in an on-going study of floristic research in Baja California, Mexico, and in San Diego. He is also a plant photographer. Many of the hundreds of pictures, in this edition, were taken by Dr. Rebman. Felger said, "The color photos are of exceptional quality, illustrating significant features of the entire spectrum of the flora - in fact, overall this is certainly one of the finest-illustrated regional plant books." Dr. Rebman holds his doctoral degree in Botany from Arizona State University. He is also the director of the San Diego County Plant Atlas Project. This involves identifying and verifying all of the incoming specimens (more than 53,000) that are obtained through this multi-year floristic project. He has also published many scientific papers on the plants of the southern California/Baja California region. His work may also be seen on The Flora of Baja California website.
There is no doubt that the third edition, of Baja California Plant Field Guide, will offer readers a vast amount of new information on the unique landscape and plant life that lives in the area. Also, it is most certain it will become the third member of "The Baja Plant Bible."
Updated: Sep 20, 2014 08:20 AM