The flowers pictured and described in this book are ones that I have personally found, identified and photographed in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Other flowers in our region have not been included and other guidebooks should be consulted if identification cannot be made with this one. There are several excellent guides, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps the single most useful one is Peterson’s Guide to Wildflowers. Each illustration was drawn by Roger Tory Peterson, and this presentation makes it possible to emphasize certain characteristic features better than a photograph. A photograph has the advantage of actually "looking like" a flower, and the Audubon Guide uses photographs. Peterson’s is the most inclusive of the popular guides, and almost all local species are included.

A small pocket magnifying glass is very helpful in studying wild flowers. For those interested in photographing them a single lens reflex camera with a macro lens is essential. As a personal preference I have used only natural light in photography, but a flash attachment can be very helpful in dim light, especially in shady woods.

Where should one look for flowers? Anywhere and everywhere. Many species, particularly those introduced from elsewhere and not native to our area are common in roadsides. Some are easy to spot from a moving car, but identification means parking in a safe place and examining the flower at close range. Native species, particularly those blooming in spring and early summer, are commonest in wooded areas. Stream banks are fruitful searching places. Perhaps the most neglected areas are waste spaces, even in urban areas; empty lots, along sidewalks, or even in sidewalk cracks. Mustards, rockroses and purslanes literally abound in such areas, but the flowers are small and easily missed.

With a little time and attention a surprising number of species can be found and identified in our area. If I have "hooked" a few people on the beauty and fascination of wild flowers, the preparation of this material has been worthwhile.