305 pages, colour photos
All the 36 species of pitcher plants currently known from the island of Borneo are covered in this lavishly illustrated second edition. The main focus of the book lies in the accounts of these species, written in an accessible style and including quotes from the works of the old explorers and collectors as well as personal anecdotes from the diaries of Susan Phillipps, whose delightful watercolours are widely used to illustrate the species.
In the first edition (1996), 32 species were covered. The names of some of these have since been changed, new species have been discovered and described and a wider variety of natural hybrids have been illustrated. The taxonomy has been completely updated, largely following that of Cheek & Jebb (2001). The book has also been greatly enhanced by the excellent photographs of Ch'ien C. Lee, who has joined the team of Phillipps and Lamb for this second edition.
The chapter on Discovery and History, with its fascinating insight into the role of pitcher plants in Victorian society with historical photographs and paintings, has been maintained, as have the chapters on Folklore, The Pitcher Plant and Ecology, which have been greatly updated and expanded with new information from research over the last 12 years, that makes it clear that these fascinating plants are even more complex that was thought when the first edition was written.
The worldwide interest in pitcher plants that has exploded since the first edition means that many more people are growing these plants as a hobby, especially now that tissue-cultured material is available at very reasonable prices; this has made the new chapter on Cultivation by Ch'ien C. Lee a useful addition.
The non-scientific but informative style of the first edition has been maintained, and this, combined with the greatly increased number of excellent photographs, will make this book indispensable to the naturalist or hobbyist as well as the scientific researcher.
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