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by Richard Felger

New edition now available, from Polytropos Press


Reader, beware, something in these poems may leap out at you like a big extinct sharp-toothed cat or a trickster god—both of whom prowl this book—or like your own anger and fear about the state of the world, so many humans now and not enough turtles. Don’t worry. There’s plenty of hope here, too, and sex and sly humor. Be prepared to time travel. Settle in, of course, for a green ride on the names of plants, letting them roll deliciously in your mouth, remembering from your own history: screwbean, amaranth, jojoba, chia. Remembering from a deeper history: perennial saltgrass, Distichlis palmeri.

A renowned ethnobotanist and scholar, Richard Felger is also a dedicated adventurer, ready to rock and roll. He’s prepared to take you with him. —comments by Sharman Apt Russell, author and winner of the 2016 John Burroughs Medal 

Dark Horses and Little Turtles
and Other Poems from the Anthropocene


to purchase, click here

10,000 Years of Field Notes

Table of Contents

Foreword: Biomass Balance

1. A Sapling Grows Up
2. Walking Out
3. Sinaloa Shootout
4. The Guy Who Cuts the Tops off Plants
5. Bodhisattva Goes to Sinaloa
6. Lemurs and Rocs
7. Survival Service in Ashkhabad
8. New York Field Trip
9. Desert Legume Trinity 
10. Senegal Dates
11. Desert Kayaking
13. Food Water & War
15. Big sacaton, forthcoming
16. Nipa, a seawater grain, forthcoming


Fog Desert / Dawn in the Fog Forest

A Picture Story; environmental observations 

Additional JOURNAL ARTICLES & BOOK CHAPTERS available at

A List of Some of Felger's POPULAR PUBLICATIONS

Felger. 2018. Mesquite: Tree of Life in a Dry World. Newsletter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico 43 (1): 7 & 10.

Felger and Neil Logan. 2018. THE DESERT IS FOOD. Pages 318–321 in Desert Harvesters, Eat Mesquite and More: A Cookbook for Sonoran Desert Foods and Living, Tucson. RainSource Press, Tucson.

Felger, Susan Davis Carnahan, José Jesús Sánchez-Escalante, Michael Bogan, Alberto Búrquez-Montijo, and Felipe S. Molina. 2016. The Desert Edge: Flora and Ethnobotany of the Guaymas Region of Sonora, Mexico. The Plant Press, The Arizona Native Plant Society, Vol.39 (1): 1–6.

Felger. 2014. Perennial Native Grasses: Food for a Dry World. Newsletter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico 39 (4): 1, 6–7, 10.

Felger. 2013. Spruce of the Gila National Forest: Bellwether of Climate Change. Newsletter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico 38 (3): 11–14. 

Felger. 2012. Richard Felger's Key to Trees

of the Gila: Checklist and identification keys for: trees of the Gila Forest Region, New Mexico. Posted on: Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness, by Russ Kleinman.

Costea, M., D.F. Austin, Felger, T.R. Van Devender, and J.J. Sánchez-Escalante. 2012. Convolvulaceae (morning glories) of Sonora. [images] University of Arizona Herbarium ( and Wilfrid Laurier Herbarium ( 

Felger & N. Logan. 2010. MESQUITE—Food for the World. Pages 4–7 in B. Lancaster, Eat Mesquite! Desert Harvesters, Tucson.

Wilder, B.T., Felger, & H. Romero. 2007. Succulents and bighorn of Isla Tiburón, Gulf of California. The Plant Press, Arizona Native Plant Society 31(2): 9–11.

Felger. 2007. A botanist’s view of the center of the Universe. Pages 195–202 in Felger and B. Broyles (eds.), Dry Borders: Great Natural Reserves of the Sonoran Desert. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Felger. 2007. Indigenous harvests: Sonoran Desert plants and animals recorded by Kino and Manje. Sonorensis. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Sánchez Escalante, J.J. & Felger. 2006. Explorando la sierra El Aguaje, Municipio

de Guaymas, Sonora. Organo de difusión

de la Estación Regional del Noroeste,

UNAM: Nuestro Tierra numero 5.

2006, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

Pages 10–15. []

Felger. 2006. Sonoran Desert cornucopia: plants and animals in Native American Culture. Pages 30–31 in E. Ezcurra, editor, Global Deserts Outlook. United Nations Environmental Program, Nairobi.

Felger, W.J. Nichols, A. Aguierre, H. Aridjis, L. Bourillón-Moreno, R. Brusca, J. Compoy, A. Cantu, J.-L. Cartron, G.D. Daneman, H. D’Antoni, P.K. Dayton, S.A. Diehn, L. Gerber, J.L. León de la Luz, C. Mártinez del Rio, R.A. Medellín, E. Palacios Castro, E. Sala. 2004. Escalera Ecológica: a staircase of reserves through southwestern Arizona and the Gulf of California region (abstract). Page 71 in Proceedings, Gulf of California Conference 2004, Tucson.

Felger. 2004. Seed Plants. Pages 147–163 in R.C. Brusca, E. Kimrey, & W. Moore, editors, A Seashore Guide to the Northern Gulf of California. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson.

Felger. 2002. Save the desert, prevent a weed. Pages 4–6, preface and introduction for: Invasive Plants of the Sonoran Desert, a field guide. Sonoran Institute, Environmental Exchange, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Tucson. [also published in Spanish].

Felger. 2002. Sinaloa Shootout. Pages 2–14 in T. Bowen, editor. Backcountry Pilot: Flying Adventures with Ike Russell. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Broyles, B., Felger, C. Bowden. 2001. The Sonoran Corridor. Pages 245–265 in P. Robles Gil, E. Ezcurra, E. Mellink, editors, The Gulf of California, a World Apart. Agrupación Sierra Madre. Mexico City.

Felger, 2001. Coastal wetlands. Pages 159–181 in P. Robles Gil, E. Ezcurra, E. Mellink, editors, The Gulf of California, a World Apart. Agrupación Sierra Madre. Mexico City.

Reina G., A. L., T.R. Van Devender, D. Yetman, & Felger. 2000. Usos etnobótanicos de las cactáceas en Sonora, México. Pages 191–202 in D. Vásquez del Castillo, M. Ortegas N., R.A. Corella B., & R.A. Castillo G., editors, II Simposium Internacional sobre la Utilización y Aprovechamiento de la Flora Silvestre de Zonas Aridas. Departmento de Investigaciones Científicas y Technologicas de la Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo.

Turner, D.S., Felger, K. Mauz, C. Funicelli, T.R. Van Devender, & J. Malusa. 2000. Biological Resources of the Proposed Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona. Sonoran Desert National Park Project. Tucson. 87 pages.

Felger. 1992. Synopsis of the vascular plants of Northwestern Sonora, Mexico. Ecologica 2(2): 11–44. (Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico)

Felger. 1992. Reflections on a Desert Legume Trinity. Aridus 4(4): 1–5, & 7.

Glenn, E.P., Felger, & J.A. Búrquez. 1991. Oasis en el Delta del Río Colorado, Ciénega de Santa Clara: Vestigios de un Oasis de Humedal. Noticias del CEDO (Centro Intercultural de Estudios de Desiertos y Oceanos, Mexico) 4(1): 14–15, 19–29, 31–32. (Reprinted 1992, in Arizona Riparian Council Newsletter).

Felger. 1990. Global Diversity of New Food Crops. First International Conference on Promising Crops for Arid and Semiarid Lands, Proceedings. Asunción, Paraguay.

Felger. 1990. New crop potential among columnar cacti. First International Conference on Promising Crops for Arid and Semiarid Lands, Proceedings. Asunción, Paraguay.

Felger. 1990. Mesquite, a world food crop. Aridus 2(1): 1–3.

Felger, 1990. The Seri Indians and their herpetafauna. Sonoran Herpetologist 3(5): 41–44.

Felger. 1990. Los Indios Seri, Caguamas y

el Desierto. (Centro Intercultural de Estudios

de Desiertos y Océanos) Los Indios Seri,

el Mar y el Desierto. Noticias del CEDO 3(1): 21–24; 3(2):20–23.

Felger, F.A. Molina & M.B. Moser. 1989. Cactus songs (Seri & Yaqui). The Plants Press 13 (1): 8.

Felger & M.B. Moser. 1987. Sea turtles in Seri Indian Culture. Environment Southwest (San Diego Museum of Natural History) no. 519: 18–21.

Felger & M.B. Moser. 1984. Use and knowledge of legumes (Mimosoideae) by the Seri Indians of Sonora, Mexico. Bulletin of the International Group for the Study of Mimosoideae 12: 78–82.

Felger, M.B. Moser & E.W. Moser. 1983. The desert tortoise in Seri Indian culture. Pages 113–120 in Desert Tortoise Council, proceedings of 1981 symposium. Desert Tortoise Council, Long Beach, CA.

Felger, D.O. Cornejo, L.S. Leigh & C.A. Stigers. 1979. Semillas magicas del desierto: un modelo de agricultura apropiada del Desierto Sonorense. Pages 70–80 in IV Simposio Sobre El Medio Ambiente del Golfo de California, Memoria. Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales. Mexico City.

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