The “Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California” is the definitive field guide for vascular plant identification in California. In 2010, I accompanied botanists in the field and observed the Jepson’s massive size limiting their work. Rare and endangered plants often cannot be collected, so botanists need a portable version of the Jepson for use in the field. In this self-initiated project, I created a Jepson iPhone app prototype to address this need. Shown below is botanist Rebecca Stubbs hiking up to elevations over 10,000 ft in search of specimen from the Polemonium genus — obviously, hauling a 10 lbs. book is not practical in these circumstances.
Here’s a typical excerpt from the printed Jepson
The book is essentially a huge repository of decision trees, “keys,” which allow scientists to identify a plant down to the species level. Here is the key for the species Pinus jeffrey, the Jeffrey Pine, which I’ve used in my mockups and prototypes