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Page 116 ï~~116 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 47 BOOK REVIEWS Burger, W. C. 2006. Flowers: how they changed the World. Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 337 pp. ISBN 1-59102-407-2 $23.00. Sometimes it is said that "old botanists never die, they just turn into compost." Anyone who is acquainted with the author of this book, the size of a 'Peterson's Guide' book knows Bill is not ready to turn into compost. Bill Burger traces his interest in the natural world to growing up in a family who spent time escaping the canyons of New York City to a cabin in the Hudson Highlands north of the city. Allowed to sharpen his sense of wonder and challenged by a high school teacher, Bill embarked on a life of studying plants from Ethiopia to Central America to the intriguing woods and dunes of northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan from the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. Now, after over 50 years studying the "world of green," Burger takes the reader along for an eye opening journey into the world of flowers and the reasons why the flowering plants have become the dominant group of organisms populating the earth's surface. His easy flowing style of writing through chapters like "What, Exactly, Is a Flower, Flowers and Their Friends" and another ".. Their Enemies," to "How Flowers Changed the World" could only be written by a person with a wealth of knowledge and a passion for sharing the subject. To add emphasis to the subject, outstanding color images of flowers along with some of their friends are included in the middle of the book. The amateur gardener-botanist will greatly enjoy the reduced use of big words in explaining complex subjects, and yet for those words used in the book there is an ample glossary at the end. If you are looking for a book to read while lying on a sunny beach or before a crackling fire as the snow drifts by your window, here is the book for you. A great stocking stuffer! We need more writing like this to keep the botanical interest going in future generations. Dennis W. Woodland, Biology Department Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0410 woody @andrews.edu Bagust, H. 2003. The Firefly Dictionary of Plant Names: Common and Botanical. Firefly Books (US) Inc., Buffalo, NY, 440 pp. ISBN 1-55297-602 -5 $24.95. If you travel throughout other English speaking countries, it quickly becomes apparent that we in North America have an aversion toward using Latin names for plant species, whereas other cultures use them freely to communicate. At present, only approximately 12-15% of wild plant species have a common or vernacular name given to them. Well you botanical name haters and avid gardeners
Page 117 ï~~2008 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 117 are now in luck. Herald Bagust has compiled a 400+ page book that can fit in your fanny pack that includes over 30,000 common and botanical names of plants grown in English-speaking areas of the world. He states that this book is to be "a working tool for amateur and professional gardeners as well as for plant lovers wishing to find the botanical name when only the common name is known." The volume is divided into 14 different plant sections under two main heading of Common Names and Botanical Names. The names are then arranged alphabetically beginning with alpines and rockery plants and concluding with trees, bushes and shrubs and wild flowers. These listed names should help satisfy the general gardeners wanting common names. However, the botanist or person wanting to add more non-commercial native species to their garden or landscape will still have to learn the Latin name. But, is that really difficult? After all, have you tried to pronounce or remember some of the human names of your co-workers? That's right, we learn them! Dennis W. Woodland, Biology Department Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0410 woody @andrews.edu Pettigrew, J. and B. Richardson. 2005. The Tealover's Companion. A Guide to Teas throughout the World. The National Trust Enterprises Ltd., London, UK, 176 pp. ISBN 0-7078-0390-X 14.99 Pounds. Four years ago I reviewed, in The Michigan Botanist, a book on tea and its infusions. If you are a tea drinker this present book goes further in various topics than the previous book. Let me tell you about it. The two authors, who own fine tea rooms and restaurants, are recognized experts in the knowledge of tea in the United Kingdom and United States, take 24 pages (p. 6-30) to trace the history of tea from its discovery to establishment of upscale tea houses to the recent renaissance of tea drinking throughout the World. Next they talk about the biology of the species of tea, especially Camellia sinensis the main species of the evergreen plants. There are two other subspecific taxa: assamica and lasiocalyx rounding out the group grown commercially. Here is discussed, with the use of color photographs, the horticulture of growing and harvesting tea, the types and manufacture of tea and the ways to decaffeinate tea. Discussion also includes the grading, blending, selling, storing and the various ways tea can be packaged. Traditional as well as modern ways of getting the best flavor from tea are explained. You will learn that the old "rule of thumb" of just steeping a bag of tea for 3-5 minutes does not apply for a good cup of tea. The remaining 2/3 of the book is The Directory, a pectoral guide to 80 world teas beginning with China and ending with Zimbabwe. In this color coded part of the book you will find fine images of the name of a tea (e.g. Bancha, Formosa Gunpowder, Gyokuro, Lover's Leap, Lu Mudan, Matcha, Poobong, Sencha, etc. to name a few), character and brewing tips (e.g. brewing times from 15 sec. to 7
Page 118 ï~~118 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 47 minutes and steeping many times over). The color of the liquid can be mouth watering and at times seems to flow off the page. The book concludes with some useful names, location addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for tearooms and tea suppliers in the United Kingdom, the United States and the rest of the world. Some I recognized as having visited, while others were noted for future reference. If you are a tea drinker and wish to get the most out of what you are enjoying each day, I highly recommend this little book. You will not be disappointed and will find your relaxing sip of tea will become that much more enjoyable after reading it. Dennis W. Woodland, Biology Department Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104-0410 woody @andrews.edu Higsater, E., M. A. Soto Arenas, G. A. Salazar Chaivez, R. Jimenez Machorro, M. A. Lopez Rosas, and R. L. Dressier. 2005. ORCHIDS OF MEXICO, Instituto Chinoin, Mexico City. Hard cover, 304 pp. ISBN 968-7889 -08-X. US$100 plus shipping; available from Redacta, S.A. de C.V., Av. Primero de Mayo 249, San Pedro de los Pinos, 03800 Mexico, D. F., Mexico. A version in Spanish is out of print. This beautiful "coffee-table" book is a magnificent account of some 450 selected orchid species found in Mexico, organized by the plant communities in which they occur. Before beginning a somewhat formal account of the species, the book provides a description of the Mexican landscape, a summary of the climate, a spectacular two-page image spread of Mexico from space (a mosaic of cloudless images on a digital terrain model). Following this is a map of the floristic provinces of Mexico, then an ecological description of the various major units of vegetation, beginning with tropical rain forests and going on to tropical dry forests, wetlands and coastal vegetation, arid zones and scrubs, grasslands, paramos, and alpine vegetation, temperate forests, and cloud forests. The distribution of each major vegetation type is shown on attractive relief maps. The first major element of the book is a chapter on natural history, concerning growth habits, roots, mycorrhiza, stems, leaves, flowers, pollination, seeds and germination, and classification. This is followed by a chapter on orchids and people, then a consideration of the Mexican landscape (in which the image of Mexico from space is provided). Following these introductory aspects the formal account of the species organized by community types is provided. The taxonomic purist might be somewhat frustrated by this organization, in that there is no systematic enumeration of the species, rather miscellaneous discussions of various species. For this reason the book would have to be considered one on the ecology of Mexican orchids rather than a systematic account, and for this reason the title of the book is misleading. In the chapter on orchids and people is a fascinating account of Stanhopea hernandezii and other species documenting the 16th century interest in orchids
Page 119 ï~~2008 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 119 by the native peoples, long before they gained popularity in Europe. We do not normally think of orchids as a source of glue, but such is the case for the mucilage from corms or pseudobulbs of various species of Laelia, Prosthechea, and Bletia. A detailed account is provided for the economically most important orchid, Vanilla planifolia, including its dated spread throughout the tropical world, from the Philippines ca. 1700 to England (1800), Java (1819), Mauritius and R6union (1827), Madagascar (1840), Tahiti (1848), Seychelles (1866), and Uganda (1912). This chapter also provides a rather detailed account of research on and collecting of Mexican orchids. Noteworthy among these authors and collectors, beginning with Francisco Hernindez in the 16th century, going on to the work of Sess6 and Mocifio (1787-1803). In the 19th century prominent European names include Humboldt and Bonpland, Lexarza and de la Llave, Bateman, Lindley, Schiede, Hartweg, Ghiesbreght, Ehrenberg, Liebmann, and Galeotti. Among American collectors the names Parry, Palmer, Thurber, Rose and Pringle are prominent. The important 20th century taxonomic account is that of L. O. Williams (1951) on The Orchidaceae of Mexico. The photographs of the landscapes, habitats and plants are beautiful. The book was printed in Japan on acid-free paper. It was sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Chinoin, a company devoted to production of pharmaceuticals for human and animal health care. As stated in their introduction, the information provided in each chapter covers many aspects of the natural history of Mexican orchids. They consider how these species occur in the major plant communities and their importance to human populations. It is noted that the book is complemented by an updated checklist of the orchids of Mexico and a catalogue in digital format of the photographed species, but the sources of this information are not provided. However, this is readily found with a Google search, which yields the URL www.orchidsbooks.com/book.asp.id=1178. The catalogue references some 1,500 pictures, including about 90 percent of the Mexican orchids. The checklist is included in the catalogue. John H. Beaman Department of Plant Biology Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan 48824 USA email@example.com Walewski, J. 2007. Lichens of the North Woods. Kollath+Stensaas Publishing, 394 Lake Avenue South, Suite 406, Duluth, MN. 160 pp. ISBN-13: 978 -09792006-0-1, paperback, $18.95. Lichens, the symbiotic association between fungi, green algae and/or cyanobacteria, are all around us, but frequently go unnoticed. So begins Joe Walewski's "Lichens of the North Woods", published as part of the "North Woods Naturalist Series" by Kollath+Stensaas Publishing. This richly illustrated field guide, which is aimed at non-specialists, provides an excellent introduction
Page 120 ï~~120 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 47 to lichens. The book begins with a concise, yet thorough summary on lichen biology, their importance to ecosystem function, and the many connections between lichens and a number of organisms. Drawings and photos are included throughout the introductory sections, supplementing the discussion on lichen anatomy and ecology. Especially interesting, is an excellent figure documenting the slow growth of one of the most frequently encountered lichens in the North Woods (Flavoparmelia caperata, the common greenshield lichen). Following the introductory sections, the book shifts to lichen identification, and is divided into 3 sections, corresponding to substrate (ground, rocks and trees). These sections occupy the majority of the book, and provide color images and descriptions of 111 species, focusing on common or interesting species. Species found on each substrate are further divided by growth form (crustose, foliose or fruticose) making this guide especially easy to use. Each substrate section begins with a discussion on the importance of the substrate to lichens and what lichens might be encountered on this substrate. This is followed by a listing of the common and latin names of the species (again, ordered by growth form) illustrated in that section. A full page is then devoted to each species, including a color photograph, a morphological description of the taxon, its chemistry (oftentimes important for lichen identification), how to discern it from look-alike species, and a "nature note", which provides interesting additional details about this particular lichen or lichens in general. Often 2 pictures are included for each species, showing a larger image of the lichen as well as a closeup of a key feature used for identification, or also showing wet and dry photos of the same species. Future editions of this book might focus less on Cladonia and Peltigera species (of which many are featured) and include taxa from other genera, such as Chaenotheca (stubble lichens), which is used as an indicator of forest continuity, and Diploschistes muscorum (cowpie lichen), a crustose lichen which obtains its photobiont by parasitizing Cladonia species, and later switches to yet another photobiont. It might also be of interest to briefly discuss the other organisms that live on or in lichen thalli, such as lichenicolous fungi (which can parasitize lichen symbionts) and non-photosynthetic bacteria. This would further illustrate the diversity of life contained within a lichen thallus. However, the book is in no way impaired by these omissions. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in lichens or biodiversity. One does not need to be a lichen specialist to enjoy, appreciate or use this book as the author is careful to avoid technical jargon and has distilled a wealth of information into this field guide, which can easily fit into a pocket (8 x 4.4 x 0.5 inches). The book is easy to use, and contains many of the commonly encountered species in the area. Walewski's enthusiasm and passion for lichens is evident throughout the book, making this an especially enjoyable read and valuable contribution. Matthew P. Nelsen Biotechnology Research Center, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931 mpnelsen @ gmail.com