Shrub Seeking? CD Delivers

Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills
Gabi and Cliff McLean

by Samantha Bonar

(reprinted with permission from the Los Angeles Times, Outdoors Section,
March 2, 2004)

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Naturalists Gabi and Cliff McLean, docents at the Los Angeles County Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park and Nature Center, have created a handy CD field guide to the flora in our local mountains. It contains more than 700 photos of 124 plants, each shown at different times of the year (when they can look wildly different), along with detailed descriptions written for the botanically challenged. You can search by common name, botanical name, plant family, flower color, plant community or plant type. (Anyone new to the area might want to start with a search for "poison oak.")

A particularly useful feature is the custom search option, designed for those with only a sketchy idea of what they're looking for. Say you saw a shrub with red berries in January; you can search using just those characteristics (that would be toyon, surprisingly a member of the rose family). More general information includes data about the five plant communities in the foothills, local plant families and plant adaptations to fire and drought.

The CD is simple enough for the novice yet plenty juicy for the more seasoned naturalist. It's available at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena or from

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