Indispensible for beginners and experts alike!
The book begins with an itroduction that includes info on different zones such as: foothills, montane, subalpine, alpine, disturbed areas, basic maps, wildlife, fires, and more.
It then is divided and color coded for example: Trees-brown, shrubs-brown, wild flowers-yellow, grasses-green, ferns and Allies-reddish brown, Bryophytes-light green, lichens-light purple, and glossary-dark purple.
Within each section, it is further divided by family. For example the tree section is divided into pine family, willow family, and birch family. At the beginning of this section is a key to help you identify the different families. The flower section includes a photo key, so that you can find the flower you are seeking at a glance, and then go to the correct page.
Each plant includes info including common and latin name, description, where found and notes. The notes vary, but include much interesting information on the history of the plant. Some info on edible and medicinal plants is offered as well though the authors state, "This guide is not meant to be a 'how-to' reference for consuming wild plants." It also includes information on other plants in the "family within the family"...for example it discusses 3 different types of Tragopogon (Goat's beard or Salsify). It often gives pictures of more than one plant in the family-within-the family. It has a color photo for each plant, and many of them also include illustrations.
I am a beginner, and my purpose in using this book is to study edible wild plants. One thing drew me to this book was that it includes mcuh info on grasses, trees and shrubs. For learning edible wild plants, I also recommend Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide by Elias and Dykeman. This book offers info about poisonous look alikes.
Another wonderful aspect of Plants of the Rocky Mountains is its sturdy construction. It is well made, and appears that it will able handle many hiking and camping trips.
In summary, I think everyone interested in wild plants could benefit from this wonderful book, particulary at such a great price!