A gallery of flora named after fauna.
In these introductions to 20 North American wildflowers and grasses with fancied resemblances to animal features, “fancied” is definitely the operative term. Schmid stacks the deck, visually, with impressionistic watercolor images created to emphasize supposed resemblances between each alphabetically arranged plant/animal pair, plus an added line drawing of an isolated leaf, flower, or seed head. Even so, the similarities aren’t always easy to see. The text offers vague claims that “Native Americans” used cattails, goat’s beard, and other plants for medicinal purposes or, as in the case of “some Navajo people,” to “protect against witches.” Moreover, Hedegaard devotes much of each botanical note to labored comparisons: “Mule-Ears / Wyethia amplexicaulis / This plant is all ears, but it can’t hear a word.” Also, some of the choices, such as elkhorn, can refer to multiple different plants, and for coltsfoot and deer’s foot, readers will have to take the creators’ word for it as the hoof prints for which they are named are never actually depicted.
Wilts next to similar flower guides, such as Susan Stockdale’s vivid Fantastic Flowers (2017). (websites, range notes) (Informational picture book. 6-9)