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Aloes: The Definitive Guide

Aloes: The Definitive Guide
S. Carter, J.J. Laranos, L.E. Newton, and C.C. Walker
Kew Publishing (distributed by the University of Chicago Press)
Publication Date: 

decorated boards, 719 pp., $160.00

Knowledge of the genus Aloe, a diverse body of plants, is mentioned quite early, such as by the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 60 A.D.). The earliest illustration appeared in a manuscript around 512 A.D. Because of the hazards of early botanical explorations and the remoteness of its native habitats, this work notes that “the majority of aloe discoveries only took place during the past hundred years or so.” Interest in these intriguing plants has grown in contemporary times as a source for a variety of medicines. In this guide, plants are classified by habit of growth: the text includes an explanation on how to use the key to groups for proper identification. Each plant description includes a record of its leaf and floral form, its habit of growth, and distribution. Accompanying excellent portraits — either drawings or color photographs — are clear.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden