In the course of the last few weeks, we've been discussing on various lists the desire to identify wild herbs.
This is a subject near and dear to my heart, as I spend many winter evenings poring over field guides and thinking about the plants that will be visited like old friends when spring arrives. By doing this, often when I stumble across a new plant, it feels as if we've already met, as they've crossed my mind so many times.
A few favorites:
Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Field Guide and Cookbook - The illustrations are line drawings that are somehow clearer than photographs. This book helped me find lamb's quarters, even though I'd seen tons of photos. Great recipes, and Billy Joe Tatum has a relationship with plants that I greatly admire. She sees them as friends and approaches them that way.
In the Peterson Field Guides series:
Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants by Steven Foster and James A. Duke
Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson
These field guides have great photographs, wonderful information, and lots of diagrams and drawings to help learn ways to identify via leaf cut/type, stem shape, fruit, and flower.
Another book with terrific information and good hand drawn illustrations with some photos is the Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Too big to be taken into the field, a good one to study over the winter.
Anytime I see used or discounted books on weeds or wildflowers, you can be sure I'll snatch them up.