Maine’s amazing wild flowers like you’ve never seen them before

I wish I’d read Wildflowers of Maine by Kate Furbish many years ago. Of course, that would have been impossible, because the book was published in 2016 by Downeast Books.

I love to walk in the woods and enjoy the flowers and trees, but I can only identify a few of those gorgeous wild flowers. My plan now is to carry Kate’s book with me, to identify other wildflowers. I had no idea there are so many in Maine.

This book is actually a work of art, featuring a selection of color paintings of wildflowers by Kate Furbish who is an artist. She also had a lifelong passion to record all of Maine’s plants and flowers in her watercolor paintings.

Furbish traveled the state in the late 1800s and early 1900s, collecting and illustrating our native plants and flowers, devoting 60 years of her life to this work and producing thousands of illustrations, most of which are now at the Bowdoin College Library.

I am so grateful to Downeast Books for publishing this collection of amazing paintings and illustrations. In addition to the stunning works of art, the book tells us where Furbish observed the flowers. The book also includes her story, which is inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the story of her long trip and visit to Aroostook County, taken by train, stage, and carriage, which produced lots of flowers and other plants she’d never seen before.

For example, “the interesting plants she’d observed in Fort Kent, situated at the confluence of the Fish and St. John Rivers, were too numerous to list, but she delved into the forested swamps in search of orchids where she was ‘amply rewarded.”

Been there. But did I see orchids? Regrettably, I don’t remember. I do, however, remember catching fish there!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.