If you've ever struggled to differentiate between pinnate and palmate vennation or corymb and cyme inflorescence, you'll be happy to hear there's a new wildflower guide for botanical novices. Written by G.K. Guennel, a spore and pollen expert, the two-volume Guide to Colorado Wildflowers is remarkably easy to use and includes some 600 species. But it helps if the plant is in bloom; the book is organized by the color of the flower first, then alphabetically by family and common name. There is also a catch-all "green" section that includes trees, grasses, shrubs and herbs. Each species is illustrated with both a photograph and a watercolor drawing for easy identification. Plains and foothills plants are identified in volume I; volume II covers the mountain regions.

Westcliffe Publishers, P.O. Box 1261, Englewood, CO 80150-1261 (303/935-0900). Cloth: $24.95 per volume. Volume I: 336 pages, 300 color photographs and watercolor drawings. Volume II: 352 pages, 300 color photographs and watercolor drawings.

* Elizabeth Manning