Devoted to the plants of Big Bend National Park this book also captures the stark beauty of the park. After brief sections on the preface, acknowledgement and design of the book, the book opens by explaining the environment in the short chapter headed, “Big Bend, The Land of Extremes.” Along with rainfall rate, temperature extremes, elevation changes of thousands of feet, and other facts of interest the author also writes of the ecological diversity and the human influence on the park from the earliest hunters to modern time as well as the history of park itself.

That is followed by a brief section on how plants are named and a section on plants helpfully organized under the various family names. Page numbers are also noted for the family plant names making it easier for readers to find the pages grouped together for a certain family plant name.

 Page 35 begins the actual heart if the book with a plant name, a close up color photograph and an easy to read and understand text on the plant. The text for each plant covers a description of the plant, where it is found, and some interesting history on the plant such as its reputation for inflicting damage on people and car tires (Lechuguilla), what the Aztecs used it for (Havard Agave) and other interesting information.

More than 250 pages later after a color picture of a beautiful Spanish dagger, the appendices begin. Appendix A is devoted to the status of the plants and how endangered they are in Texas.  Appendix B is devoted to selected locations in the park such as Boot Canyon, Casa Grande, Panther Pass, and many others and the names of plants found at each location. Appendix C is devoted to the author’s suggestions concerning photographing plants and necessary equipment. All of the pictures in the book were taken by the author and he explains how to achieve the quality photographs he does. Appendix D is a brief two page explanation of what sources were used for the names of the plants and why.

A glossary of terms, a list of sources for more information on the park, reference materials and an index brings this beautiful and easy to use book to a close.  Designed for people who want to know what they are looking at in the park, this book is superbly done in text and photographs and is easy to understand. Not only does it depict many of the plants within the park, numerous photographs also capture the surrounding countryside and the beauty of the park. This is a must have book for your next trip to the park.

Little Big Bend: Common, Uncommon, and Rare Plants of Big Bend National Park

(Part of the “Grover E. Murray Studies In The American Southwest” Series)

Roy Morey

Texas Tech University Press


Flexbound with Flaps (Large Field Guide Style)


329 Pages

$34.95 My thanks to the staff of the library system of Texas Tech University who provided a copy of this book through the Interlibrary Loan system.  Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

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