CLEMSON — Why carry two field guides on a hike when you can carry one? Clemson University naturalist Timothy P. Spira’s “Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes” links two standouts of a region famous for both.

spira bookSpira is a published expert in the ecology and natural history of the southern Appalachian Mountains and adjoining Piedmont of the southeastern United States.

His new guidebook shows the way to dazzling waterfalls in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia, along with hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The guide also highlights plants and the places where they are found. Spira uses the “natural communities” approach for identifying and understanding plants within the context of the habitats they occupy, enabling hikers to see and interpret landscapes in a new way.

The guidebook, part of the Southern Gateways Guide series, is filled with color photographs of 30 destination waterfalls and 125 plants, along with detailed descriptions of key plant species and drawings to identify plant structures.

Details for each hike include a map and GPS coordinates and a trail description and plant list highlighting the plants you are most likely to see, as well as birds and other animals along the way.

Published by the University of North Carolina Press, Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians (ISBN  978-1-4696-2264-4) is to be released in May and will cost $24.

Spira is professor of biology and author of another guide, “Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia.”