cloth, 288 p., $49.95
What is a tree? This query will challenge the most knowledgeable authorities because of the diversity of the subject and the many exceptions to a definition. As editor of this reference work, British botanist Steve Cafferty has broadened the traditional requirements in the classification of a tree so that more plants than ever before now fall into this category. The text also reflects the taxonomic changes that have taken place during the last two decades.
After a discussion of the characteristics of a tree, the text considers forest ecosystems and global forestry issues, as well as the effects of climate on tree distribution. With the exception of trees of the tropics, entries are organized by plant family. The listing is first divided into an evolutionary pattern of trees from the most primitive to those that dominate today’s woodlands. The principal trees of the world are further divided into those in temperate and those in tropical climates. Temperate climate trees are organized by leaf form. The text is heavily illustrated with splendid color photographs, fine artwork, tables, and maps of species distribution. Each entry description of trees of tropical regions includes the plant’s commercial usage.
This reference work is highly recommended. It incorporates the latest classification systems and includes a much larger directory of tropical species than commonly found.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden