cloth, 585 p., $238.50
A bamboo bible, Dieter Ohrnberger's Bamboos of the World is a comprehensive review of all extant data on 1,575 bamboos, with names, distribution details and extensive bibliographies. Mr. Ohrnberger's mission is not to present a taxonomic revision of bambusoid grasses globally, but instead to provide a snapshot of the state of knowledge on them. Given that much of the literature on bamboos is scattered in journals, treatises and monographs, this survey is both an excellent summary and a catalyst for further work on these fascinating grasses. As the author notes, the state of classification on bamboos is "far behind that of all of the other groups of grasses," in part due to peculiarities in the life cycle of these plants.
Besides a wealth of taxonomic and bibliographic information, this book provides common names when known, flowering records, distinctive characteristics, geographic distribution and cultivation records, if introduced into Europe and the U.S. Anyone with an interest in bamboos will find this book encyclopedic in scope. With its wealth of detail, Bamboos of the World is the essential reference work on these grasses.
— Edward J. Valauskas, Manager, Library and Plant Information, School of the Chicago Botanic Garden.