Thoreau’s Wildflowers

Published in 2016 by Yale University Press

Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780300214772

Some of Henry David Thoreau’s most beautiful nature writing was inspired by the flowering trees and plants of Concord. An inveterate year-round rambler and journal keeper, he faithfully recorded, dated, and described his sightings of the floating water lily, the elusive wild azalea, and the late autumn foliage of the scarlet oak.

This inviting selection of Thoreau’s best flower writings is arranged by day of the year and accompanied by Thoreau’s philosophical speculations and his observations of the weather and of other plants and animals. They illuminate the author’s spirituality, his belief in nature’s correspondence with the human soul, and his sense that anticipation—of spring, of flowers yet to bloom—renews our connection with the earth and with immortality.

Thoreau’s Wildflowers features more than 200 of the black-and-white drawings originally created by Barry Moser for his first illustrated book, Flowering Plants of Massachusetts. This volume also presents “Thoreau as Botanist,” an essay by Ray Angelo, the leading authority on the flowering plants of Concord.

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Buy the Book

“Thoreau’s excursions through the woods of Concord were made with a ‘true sauntering of the eye.’ Geoff Wisner’s Thoreau’s Wildflowers is a sauntering through the landscape of Thoreau’s journals leading the reader to new discoveries of otherwise overlooked fruit.”
— Jeffrey S. Cramer, editor of Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition

“This beautifully illustrated book brings Thoreau’s voice to life, yielding a fascinating glimpse into the rich botanical world that thrived in New England 150 years ago and that still graces the landscape today.”
— Elizabeth Farnsworth, New England Wildflower Society

“Wisner’s seasonal compilation of Thoreau’s prolific wildflower observations coupled with Ray Angelo’s heralded profile of Thoreau as Botanist provide a delightful read and invaluable resource.”
— Cherrie Corey, Concord naturalist and photographer