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Wildflower Wonders: Book Review

If there is a quest I can imagine one might devote a lifetime to, it might well be to roam the world witnessing extravagant wildflower displays in their splendid diversity. Author, photographer, and distinguished naturalist Bob Gibbons takes readers along on just such awe-inspiring journeys, visiting sites of breathtaking beauty in his latest book published by Princeton University Press:

Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World  (

Turban Buttercups - South Cyprus - Photo Courtesy Bob Gibbons

Gibbons documents the absolute magic of natural settings covered in sweeping blooms, from the mountainous regions of Europe to coastal landscapes to African grasslands to the Northern Cape Province desert. Taking in national parks to 4-wheel-drive-only accessible realms where wildflowers emerge in jaw-dropping pageantry, the sites are presented in an arrangement that spans Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia to North America, as Gibbons describes 50 exemplary  locations, giving his ‘Reasons to Go.’ Each entry offers important information on how to time your visit for the peak display, with Gibbons writing enthusiastically and in great detail about the ecology and status of the site, and to what degree it may be protected.

Visit the Princeton University Press Web site to see more photos and details about the book.

Photo Courtesy of the Author, Bob Gibbons

The photography alone merits accolades, but there is so much more to recommend Wildflower Wonders. Gibbons draws us in to experience the unique character of each habitat and its flora. For the avid gardener – as I see myself, there are familiar species that I know only as hybridized varieties bred for larger blooms or longer flowering cycles. Other rare, wild beauties emerge: Species I presume likely known only to savvy botanists. Below: “Possibly the most flowery place in the world,” according to Gibbons, with an “astonishing display of flowers.”

Mazama Ridge Mount Ranier: Photo Courtesy Bob Gibbons

Gibbons is the author of Wild France and nature guides.

If your travel takes you to remote places, or you are interested in exploring the wonders of nature, you’ll appreciate the book’s listings of useful contacts, and tour operators. I know I’ll be perusing the list of plant species on those winter nights when I’m immersed in the book’s splendid images and vivid narrataives, as I dream of my next sojourn.

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