The Plants of the Appalachian Trail: A Hiker’s Guide to 398 Species

Timber. Jun. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781643260402. pap. $29.99. REF
Wickert, who holds a PhD in plant pathology and is a frequent hiker on the Appalachian Trail, enthusiastically shares her expertise and knowledge about the numerous plants hikers may encounter on the AT. In addition to delving into the history of the trail, the book provides somewhat technical descriptions of a wide range of plants in the region, accompanied by clear, close-up photographs. The entries are organized by type of plant (trees, shrubs and vines, herbaceous plants, fungi, lichen, slime molds). Wickert includes information about both edible and poisonous plants. The backmatter includes a glossary, which is great for nonexperts to read first to better understand the terminology used in the descriptions of the various parts and features of plants. Absolute beginners may still need to refer to other resources to fully grasp all the terms.
VERDICT A recommended ready reference for hikers, especially for readers planning a trek along the Appalachian Trail. Some plant descriptions, especially toward the beginning of the book, seem to be written for an academic audience, while others are more informal, especially once readers get to the slime molds.
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