This wildflower identification book is also a delightful travelogue — going around and through the North and South Islands. Johnson quite literally picks a bouquet or two from dozens of locations. There are 43 chapters and each chapter has at least one bouquet. The plants are named (common and botanical) and described and there's always some history to be learned. Both native and non-native plants are covered. I appreciated Johnson's care in pointing out which (often beautiful) non-natives had become pests by pushing out the native plants.
The Lord of the Rings movies have brought more tourists to see for themselves the natural glory of New Zealand. While those fine films gave us a taste of the vastness down under, Pick of the Bunch shows the traveler the bounties at their fingertips.
Longacre Press, Dunedin, New Zealand, (available through Pacific Island Books, Thornton, Colorado, 1-888-49-BOOKS, www.pacificislandbooks.com), 1997, 1-877135-06-2, 184 pages, drawings and color photographs on every page, paperback, $26.00