Sierra Nevada Tree Identifier, Jim Paruk
Jim Paruk’s Sierra Nevada Tree Identifier is an indispensable tool for fall color photographers and viewers.
The 126-page book includes black and white illustrations by Elizabeth Morales (needles, leaves, fruit, nuts, flowers/bracts, cones and pods) and detailed descriptions of 44 native trees found in the Sierra Nevada.
Paruk points out that “By knowing your approximate altitude, field identification of certain trees can be greatly simplified,” noting that “similarly-appearing sugar and western white pines grow at different elevations (the sugar pine is lower).”
The book is particularly helpful in identifying cone-bearing trees (pine, nutmeg, yew, fir, hemlock, cedar, sequoia and juniper), though for the fall color viewer, it is helpful in separating broad-leaved trees, as well. Of particular help is the section on willows, whose leaves are identical to the untrained eye.
An important omission, however, is any description of fall color to be seen in the leaves. Paruk fails to specify colors commonly displayed by Sierra Nevada trees (e.g., California black oak leaves turn orange in autumn).
Published by the Yosemite Conservancy, the book is available at Amazon.com and is sold at the California Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes for $9.95.