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The Cactus Family

The Cactus Family
Edward F. Anderson
Portland, Ore.: Timber Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 776 p., $99.95

In The Cactus Family, Edward F. Anderson, senior research botanist at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, has compiled an encyclopedia of cacti, describing 125 genera and 1,810 species. This book is the single most up-to-date resource on the subject available anywhere.

The author's intent was to produce a scientifically accurate, but readable, book by completing a thorough survey of the diversity of cacti in their natural habitats. Paging through the many photographs of cacti in this book, most shown in bloom, illustrates the wide range in size — from gigantic to miniature — of these curious plants. Each cactus is pictured and described in botanical detail.

Opening chapters of this work describe the uses of cactus as food for humans and animals as well as its importance in certain religious rituals. The inclusion of a chapter on cultivation of cacti by Roger Brown makes the book useful to growers and hobbyists as well as horticulturists.

The appendix contains site maps, locations of cactus collections, a glossary of botanical terms, and scientific and common plant name indexes. This book will become the standard reference on the subject, continuing Timber Press' fine series of botanical monographs.

— Adele Kleine, Master Gardener and Volunteer, Library, Chicago Botanic Garden