"Mike Sullivan loves his adopted city of San Francisco, and he loves trees. In The Trees of San Francisco he has combined his passions, offering a striking and handy compendium of botanical information, historical tidbits, cultivation hints, and more.Sullivan's introduction details the history of trees in the city, a fairly recent phenomenon. The text then piques the reader's interest with discussions of 71 city trees. Each tree is illustrated with a photograph--with its common and scientific names prominently displayed--and its specific location within San Francisco, along with other sites; frequently a close-up shot of the tree is included. Sprinkled throughout are 13 sidelights relating to trees; among the topics are the city's wild parrots and the trees they love; an overview of the objectives of the Friends of the Urban Forest; and discussions about the link between Australia's trees and those in the city, such as the eucalyptus.
What a book. You don't need to be a botanist to appreciate this book. I'm certainly not. At first, I thought I'd just glance through this book, read about a few trees I'd always wondered about. I read it cover to cover. The photos: beautiful. Showing a tree from afar, and close up of flowers or leaves. Then a very informative page about why this tree does and doesn't work in San Francisco. (good for planting under power lines, poor choice for sidewalks, quick growing, etc.). Tidbits about when they bloom, when or if they lose their leaves, and the best time to see them.
What impressed me most was hearing stories about how a certain tree was brought to the city, or how some of the fruits taste (seems like some are edible, but taste like sand). This knowledge is just what I love to know, but don't want to die trying to find out. Also a few choice trees that kids may be interested in and where and when to see them (e.g. fruit that smells like vomit, some kids would just LOVE that).
At the end of the book: some walking tours. So if you are a visitor, interested in trees, this is a must. For any local, I would recommend this book. It is truly superb. And did you know there is a non-profit, Friends of the Urban Forest (www.fuf.net) that has been active in SF since 1981? Check it out, donate, or volunteer.
Excellent overview of absorbing facts on the trees their histories and locations within SF. If it’s your first time visiting “the Baghdad by the Bay” and realize your “not in Kansas any more” grab a copy of Sullivan’s Book and enjoy a horticultural adventure through one of the most botanical wonderlands on earth.
Great read for anyone who wants to learn a little bit about San Francisco's fantastic trees and where to find them. I especially enjoyed tree origins stories. I will use the book as a guide for some of the walks that I do with my dog.
Bob and I went over to The Green Arcade this past weekend and I picked up this guide to some of San Francisco's most notable trees. Both Bob and Patrick, the store's owner, said they loved the book. Now I see why! It's engagingly written and beautifully laid out. It certainly plays the role of field guide, but it's really more like a photographic homage to the green-leafed beauties across our dear city. I plan to put the walking tours at the end of the book to good use.
For a casual tree admirer in San Francisco, I don't know that it gets much better than this. The inclusion of great photos, San Francisco context, and actual locations you can see them, makes this a keeper.