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This definitive work provides up-to-date descriptions of all the true conifers of the world. It is the first comprehensive update of conifer taxonomy in nearly a century. Noted conifer taxonomist James E. Eckenwalder discusses the relationships, practical usages, champion trees, fossil occurrences, and biology. Although there are no classical binomial determination keys, Conifers of the World contains new identification guides for the families to determine down to species level (chapter 8), and identification guides in chapter 7 to determine the different families and genera based on foliage features. These identification guides are easier to use than traditional conifer keys.
Eckenwalder shares the reasoning behind his taxonomic decisions, many of which are unique to this book, reflecting a comprehensive reevaluation of conifer classification. He also outlines the features sought in cultivars of each genus, particular cultivation concerns, and conifers recommended for cultivation under various conditions and to achieve different effects. With its unprecedented attention to detail and extensive bibliography, this major work is an essential reference for botanists, naturalists, and horticulturists.
Chapter 1: Conifer Classification 13
Chapter 2: Conifer Names 21
Chapter 3: Conifers in Nature and in the Garden 29
Chapter 4: Conifer Morphology 43
Chapter 5: Paleobotany and Evolution 61
Chapter 6: Conifer Identification 65
Chapter 7: Seed Plants and Conifer Families 69
Chapter 8: Conifer Genera and Species 77
Appendix 1: Conversion Tables 632
Appendix 2: Authorities for Scientific Names 633
Appendix 3: Conifers with Distinctive Features 640
Appendix 4: New Names 647
James E. Eckenwalder is associate professor of plant systematics at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, where he focuses on taxonomy, natural hybridization, and macroevolution. He graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and earned his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. His research, which has resulted in significant changes to conifer taxonomy, emphasizes the classification and evolution of vascular plants, especially trees. His interests include the theoretical and practical bases of plant classification, the tracing of evolutionary histories, the integration of different lines of taxonomic evidence into classifications, the most effective ways of incorporating taxonomically awkward organisms (especially hybrids and fossils) into classifications, and the testing of taxonomic hypotheses. His research focuses on groups at different taxonomic levels: the genus Populus, the aspens, cottonwoods, and other poplars; the family Convolvulaceae, which includes morning glories and bindweeds; and the gymnosperms, the generally cone-bearing plants that include pine, spruce, and fir trees, junipers, cypresses, cedars, and redwoods (all conifers), as well as cycads and ginkgo. Eckenwalder's research employs a broad spectrum of modern and traditional approaches, including biosystematics, chemotaxonomy (flavonoids), numerical taxonomy and morphometrics, paleobotany, and cladistics, among other techniques.
Great Book – one serious omission
by Tony Carey in the Republic of Ireland (02/05/2012)
This is a must for all major libraries and those with a major interest in conifers who are not put off by the very high price. It's vast wealth of high quality photographs of all aspects of each conifer including a wonderful collection of photos of the bark of the trees is its primary asset. However, it has one very serious omission – there is no reference anywhere in it to Wollemia nobilis – the Australian 'fossil tree' known in Australia as the Wollemi 'pine'. This must be corrected right away with an amended edition and a supplement to purchasers of the first edition.
"James E. Eckenwalder has not just written a book about trees, he has created an epic work that may well stand for years as the definitive source for information about conifers."
– Ernie Cowan, North County Times, 2009-12-13