First published in 1976, Professor Corner's study is a major work of botanical scholarship and reference. The most unsatisfactory part of the classification of dicotyledons is the arrangement of their families into orders. In these volumes the author shows how important the seed is in classification. Systems of ordinal classification based on the flower are potentially misleading in as much as floral similarity is often the effect of polyphyletic convergence. A different system of classification based on the seed is outlined.
The work is the result of more than thirty years' collection and study of seeds, particularly in the tropics. The account is published in two volumes. The text in the first volume has five introductory chapters leading up to the nature of the primitive arillate seed. There then follows in alphabetical order concise descriptions of the seed in families and certain of their genera. This second volume contains more than 600 original illustrations made by the author. The two volumes are unique sources of teaching and reference material for botanical institutions throughout the world.