The Botanical Garden: Volume II: Perennials and Annuals

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9781552975923: The Botanical Garden: Volume II: Perennials and Annuals
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Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix are pioneers in the use of photography in plant illustration. The Botanical Garden I and II, are exciting and thoroughly modern renditions of illustrated botany books. Ten years in the making, this set combines the finest in photography with up-to-date, expert commentary to bridge the gap between gardener-friendly books and scientific texts. In the tradition of the great botanical illustrations, each featured plant has been carefully photographed -- as a whole and in its parts -- against a white background to reveal the plant's physical characteristics in exacting detail.

Plants from more than 1,200 distinct groups are described -- from oaks to violets and water lilies to grasses -- and are presented in evolutionary order, from the most primitive to the most advanced. Each plant listing includes:

  • Name: genus, species and common names, date of discovery, and range.
  • Description: detailed and concise in the scientific style.
  • Key Recognition Features.
  • Ecology and Geography.
  • Comment: cultivation needs plus notes about unusual hybrids or developments in the genus.

As a pair, the two volumes are an all-inclusive source of information and photographs of more than 2,000 genera of temperate plants. Thorough introductory text encompasses numerous themes in botany, from the history of plant development to current DNA studies that are revolutionizing plant classification. Each volume includes a detailed index and bibliography.

The Botanical Garden I and II are exciting additions to a gardening bookshelf. They are visually rich and highly accurate references that will remain interesting, useful and current for many years. Offering a discerning insight into the relationship between garden plants and their natural environments and accuracy that is unequalled outside scientific circles, this duo are truly the modern heirs to a long history of botanical references. There are simply no other works of this kind available today.

About Volume II, Perennials and Annuals

The second in the two volumes of The Botanical Garden, this illustrated reference covers 515 genera of herbaceous temperate plants, including annuals, biennials, perennials, bulbs and aquatic plants. All are described in complete detail, including how plants are related and their origins and uses. Previously imprecise classifications are corrected. Listings are organized in evolutionary order, from the ancient plants -- sphagnum moss and ferns -- to the modern irises, hostas and sedges.

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About the Author:

Roger Phillips was trained as a painter at Chelsea School of Art. He has 30 books to his credit, which have sold well over 31/2 million copies worldwide. Phillips has won numerous awards, including three for book design, and has written and presented the major television series, The Quest for the Rose.

Martyn Rix is a botanist, plant collector and gardener. He studied botany at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Cambridge, where he wrote his doctoral thesis. After working as botanist at the Royal Horticultural Society's Garden at Wisley, he became an independent botanical advisor and writer and has since produced 17 books and numerous scientific papers, as well as 23 illustrated books with Roger Phillips. Rix is on the Picture Committee of the Royal Horticultural Society and has been awarded the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society for his services to horticulture.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Botanical Garden Volume II: Perennials and Annuals
Introduction

Our aim in this book is to provide new information and a new way of looking at plants and gardening from a more botanical viewpoint. The plant families are covered systematically, and the relationships between them are discussed; readers will be able to put the knowledge they have acquired piecemeal into a framework, and understand the botanical groups and the similarities and differences between them.

DNA studies in plants

The discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953 opened up a whole new method for studying the relationships between living things; much more recently, the use of computers to compare large amounts of simple data has revealed new evidence for the ancestry of plants. These new studies have not proved to be a Rosetta Stone that will reveal all, but they have provided some important new information to help solve old problems. Hitherto unsuspected relationships have been suggested, and interesting variations within a single species have also been shown up. The details of the method are complex, but depend on studying the behaviour of three different bodies within the plant cell. The DNA in two of these, the mitochondrion (involved in respiration) and the chloroplast (involved in photosynthesis), is inherited maternally, while the DNA of the third, the nucleus, is derived from both parents. The genes of mitochondria are too unstable to be of use in these studies, but fortunately the genes of chloroplasts are very stable; rearrangements of their DNA sequences are rare enough to be used to indicate major evolutionary groups, but frequent enough to be interesting and worth looking for. Research since the 1980s is now beginning to be used to describe new relationships between genera and families, and new arrangements have been published. These sometimes confirm the classical view based on the morphology of plants, and sometimes bring surprises.

Major groupings

The main division of the flowering plants into monocotyledons and dicotyledons is upheld by DNA studies, with the exception of a few primitive plants that fall outside both categories; this indicates that the monocotyledons arose as a group within the primitive dicotyledons, rather than separately. Some of the important groupings of monocotyledons are described below. Within the main body of the dicotyledons, around six groups are shown to be rather isolated. Two of these are the Saxifragales and the Caryophyllales, while two others, the Ranunculales and the Proteales, respectively include the largely herbaceous Ranunculaceae (see pp.38-59), Berberidaceae (see pp.60-63), and Papaveraceae (see pp.64-71), and a diverse group related to Protea, which includes the familiar genera Platanus and Nelumbo: this superficially crazy association of the waterlily-like Nelumbo, the sacred lotus, with totally different-looking trees and shrubs, must rank as one of the great surprises of DNA research. The rest of the main body of dicotyledons fall into two large clades, the Rosids and Asterids, a clade being a group of families or genera with a common ancestor, an evolutionary lineage. The artificiality of several previously recognised families of plants has been shown up by DNA studies. In particular, traditional Scrophulariaceae has been found to be a diverse assemblage, and although the traditional name has been retained here, the plants have been arranged as they naturally fall (see pp.250-63, pp.268-69, and p.277).

Unanswered questions

The key question of what the first flowering plant looked like is still unanswered, but we are left with a number of interesting speculations. The modest water plant Ceratophyllum (see p.385), for example, appears to be a very early offshoot from the flowering plant ancestry, but its exact position still remains uncertain; could this be what the first flowering plant was like?

Hellebore Epimedium, poppy, and Corydalis

This group of families, which includes the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae (see pp.38-59), was traditionally considered primitive, as many had very simple flowers, with indefinite numbers of separate stamens and carpels. Recent studies have confirmed this, as well as the close relationship of the Berberidaceae (see pp.60-63), which includes several distinct herbaceous genera. Poppies, the Papaveraceae (see pp.64-71), and Corydalis, both of which often have a milky sap, are related to this group. The beautiful Japanese Glaucidium, which was of doubtful affinity, has been shown to fall within Ranunculaeae, but the rather similar Paeonia is now thought to be closer to Saxifragaceae (see pp.98-108).

Dianthus, cactus, polygonum, and mesembryanthemum

Pinks and carnations, Dianthus, and Silene are the main garden genera of their family, the Caryophyllaceae (see pp.74-81); several garden weeds from this family, such as chickweed and mouse-ear chickweed, are almost universal. Related to this group are the mainly succulent families Cactaceae (see p.87), which is so characteristic of the American deserts, and the Aizoaceae or Mesembryanthemaceae (see p.86), which takes its place in southern Africa; both of these families have an unusual metabolism that enables them to withstand extreme drought conditions. Other families of this group, the Caryophyllaies, are edible and furnish such vegetables as beet, spinach, and rhubarb, and such diverse ornamentals as Limonium, Mirabilis, Drosera, and Tamarix.

Saxifrage, Sedum, and peony

The group called Saxifragales, as identified by DNA studies, is unusually diverse. The Saxifragaceae (see pp.98-108), many of which are mountain plants, are close to the usually succulent Crassulaceae (see p.109), which includes Sedum, the stonecrop. Paeonia, a remarkably isolated genus, whose affinities have long been in dispute, probably belongs here, although here Paeonlaceae (see pp.58-59) is listed in its traditional position next to Ranunculaceae; it appears to be closest to Daphniphyllum. The woody plants (see Volume I) traditionally placed in Hamamelidaceae, such as Liquidambar, Cercidiphyllum, and Itea, are now thought to belong here, as does Ribes, the gooseberry and currant.

Geranium and Francoa

The important horticultural family Geraniaceae (see pp. 112-15) includes the hardy Geranium, found all over the world, and the tender Pelargonium, which is mainly South African. Both of these genera have a large number of species with attractive characteristics, such as scented leaves and brightly coloured flowers, as well as large seeds that are dispersed far from the parent plant, by a spring in the case of Geranium (or rarely as a burr), or by wind, with a silky tall, in the case of Pelargonium. DNA indicates that the southern hemisphere plants Melianthus and Francoa are related to Geranium.

Sarracenia, Primula, Phlox, and Impatiens

The family Primulaceae (see pp.198-205), though small in number of genera, is important in temperate gardens, mainly because Primula itself has undergone such an explosion of beautiful species in the Himalayas and the Alps. The family also includes Anagallis and Lysimachia. Closely related to Primula is the mainly American Phlox, Polemonium, and the climbing Cobaea, in the Polemoniaceae (see pp.196-97). These are shown by DNA studies to fall within the Asterids, and within that to belong to the Ericales, a large group that includes Impatiens and the pitcher plants Sarracenia, as well as shrubs such as Styrax, Camellia, and Rhododendron (see Volume I).

Peas, beans, Lathyrus, and Polygala

Peas, beans, and vetches, in the family Leguminosae (see pp.124-37), are shown to be a distinct group within th

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