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Flora of the Cayman Islands

Field / Identification Guide

By: George R Proctor(Author)

788 pages, 64 plates with 400 colour photos; 256 b/w line drawings

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Hardback | Jul 2012 | Edition: 2 | #182092 | ISBN-13: 9781842464038
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £74.99 $98/€84 approx

About this book

The three islands comprising the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac) support 415 native taxa in a land area little over 260 square kilometers, 29 of which are uniquely Caymanian. This full colour Flora of the Cayman Islands by George R. Proctor is a total revision of his first edition. While still being a classic flora, 256 line illustrations and over 400 colour photographs illustrate the majority of species most likely to be encountered. Thus, it satisfies the needs of the professional botanist, while providing the non-expert and eco-traveler with an accessible, informative field guide.

"George Proctor (1920–) has specialized on insular floras of seed plants and especially pteridophytes of the West Indies; some of his major works, in chronological sequence, are on Jamaica (1953, 1967, 1985), the Barbados (1965), the Lesser Antilles (1974), the Cayman Islands (1984, 2012), and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (1989). The Cayman Islands have the smallest land mass and consist of just three islands with a uniquely Caymanian flora: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac at, respectively, 197, 28.5, and 38 km².

The 1984 Cayman flora had 851 pages that included 256 numbered figures of mostly full-page plates of line drawings (116 original) to illustrate the 601 species recognized (20 pteridophytes, 1 gymnosperm, 141 mono-, and 439 dicotyledons). Proctor started revising his flora about eight years ago and completed the revision under difficult circumstances: "ill health, failing eyesight and unexpected incarceration" (2010–12) on charges of murdering his wife ( cayman-flora-revisited-proctor).

The revision is a very substantial update, visually and taxonomically: The book now has 64 excellent color plates depicting over 400 taxa, and attractive lavender-tinted boxes for synopses of subfamilies and for keys to genera and species. Despite the added 64 color plates, edition 2 has 788 pages versus 851 in edition 1 (edition 2 is 242 × 164 × 50 mm; edition 1 is nearly identical). Retention of the first edition is essential because the preliminary and introductory pages dropped from 84 to 21, with the significant loss of 3 pages of maps and M.A. Brunt's 59-page account of "environment and plant communities."

The 2012 flora has 716 species (415 native, 28 endemic; 27 pteridophytes, 1 gymnosperm, 173 mono-, and 515 dicotyledons), 115 (not "116" p. 671) more than in 1984. The additions occur in 54 families, 7 new to the flora. The classification still largely follows Cronquist (1968).

Back matter is extensive: a 3-page list of species new to the flora (including 4 new species, 3 new varieties), a 24-page unillustrated glossary, a 2-page bibliography, a 4-page index of common names, a 16-page index of Latin names, and a 5-page list of genera according to the molecular classification of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III. See also the "Considerations" commentary following.

Edition 2 is a major achievement for this small island complex of a mere 264 km²."

– Rudolf Schmid, University of California, Berkeley, Taxon 62(1), February 2013, 200-201

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