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Harold Koopowitz
Timber Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 384 p., $34.95

Dr. Harold Koopowitz has written the definitive text on the species and cultivars of the genus Clivia. In the foreword by renowned plantsman and photographer Sir Peter Smithers, the book is described as "replete with information about the culture and evolution of the modern Clivia," and indeed it is.

Clivias are a tough group of plants. In my home, I grow a single Clivia, one of only two houseplants to survive successive moves over 21 years from USDA climatic zone 9 to zone 5, where it flowers as happily as it did in the warmer climate.

There are a number of things about this book that I like, including the acknowledgements. One characteristic of a recognized authority is a desire to acknowledge those who have assisted with the manuscript. Mr. Koopowitz leads by example in this regard.

The information is up-to-date and accurate. The author is an acknowledged expert in this field, as are the contributors acknowledged early in the book. The photographs and color illustrations are superb. The text is clear, concise and well written. The author engages the reader throughout this very thorough treatment of everything anyone would need (or want) to know about Clivia. The sources of information and plant references, and contacts listed at the end of the book, exceed expectations.

As much as I admire the technical quality of this book — the information, the way it is organized, the images and even the quality of the paper and binding — one of my favorite aspects of it is the writing, which covers such subjects as "Conversing with Clivias." Should you talk to your plants? I invite you to discover the answer and other fascinating elements in this book.

— Boyce Tankersley, Manager of Living Plant Documentation, Chicago Botanic Garden