Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont

A Naturalist's Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia

By Timothy P. Spira

540 pp., 6 x 9, 361 color photos of plants and plant communities, 760 color thumbnails, 22 line drawings, 2 maps, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7172-0
    Published: May 2011
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7710-9
    Published: May 2011
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7765-4
    Published: May 2011

Southern Gateways Guides

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This richly illustrated field guide serves as an introduction to the wildflowers and plant communities of the southern Appalachians and the rolling hills of the adjoining piedmont. Rather than organizing plants, including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, by flower color or family characteristics, as is done in most guidebooks, botanist Tim Spira takes a holistic, ecological approach that enables the reader to identify and learn about plants in their natural communities. This approach, says Spira, better reflects the natural world, as plants, like other organisms, don't live in isolation; they coexist and interact in myriad ways.

Full-color photo keys allow the reader to rapidly preview plants found within each of the 21 major plant communities described, and the illustrated species description for each of the 340 featured plants includes fascinating information about the ecology and natural history of each plant in its larger environment. With this new format, readers can see how the mountain and piedmont landscapes form a mosaic of plant communities that harbor particular groups of plants. The volume also includes a glossary, illustrations of plant structures, and descriptions of sites to visit. Whether you're a beginning naturalist or an expert botanist, this guidebook is a useful companion on field excursions and wildflower walks, as well as a valuable reference.

Southern Gateways Guide is a registered trademark of the University of North Carolina Press

About the Author

Timothy P. Spira is professor of biology at Clemson University.
For more information about Timothy P. Spira, visit the Author Page.


“This book, with its color coded sections, is easy to use. . . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, two-year technical program students, and general readers.”—Choice

“I have never met [Spira], but I feel indebted to him for the time and thought that went into the compilation of this wonderful new source guide. I never thought I’d see anything this good on this topic for this region in my lifetime.”—Asheville Citizen Times

"Whether you are a beginning naturalist or an expert botanist, this guidebook is a useful companion on field excursions and wildflower walks, as well as a valuable reference." —McCormick Messenger

“It deserves a good look from individuals interested in natural history, plant communities and diversity, and conservation.”—Plant Science Bulletin

“Twenty-one major plant communities are described in detail, and the refreshing and easy-to-use format allows readers to explore each of the 340 featured plants in terms of their natural history, ecology, habitat, range, and uses— where applicable. Highly recommended.”—Virginia Wildlife

"One of the finest contributions to regional plant studies in recent years."—Asheville Citizen Times

Multimedia & Links

Visit the author's wildflower ecology blog.

Visit the the book's Facebook page.