Flowering Plant Families of the World

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Firefly Books, 2007 - Gardening - 424 pages
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The definitive reference on flowering plants, thoroughly revised.

The widely acclaimed Flowering Plants of the World, the original edition of this book, has never been surpassed in its depth and scope. Written by a team of internationally recognized authorities, this thoroughly updated edition provides the latest information and solidifies the book's position as the definitive guide on the subject.

At the core of the book are the comprehensive entries on 504 flowering plant families. Each entry describes distribution, anatomy, habitat, classification and commercial uses. The enormous wealth of newly available taxonomic information, found throughout the pages of Flowering Plant Families of the World, will interest every botanist.

Along with hundreds of beautiful, meticulously detailed artworks, the book features:

  • A complete introductory section about flowering plants
  • Distribution maps and quick-reference panels
  • An extensive illustrated glossary of specialist terms
  • A comprehensive index with plant names in Latin and English.

The book's specially commissioned botanical illustrations by professional artists are remarkable for both their beauty and their scientific accuracy.

This definitive book, now completely updated, will remain a key reference for gardeners, botanists and plant professionals worldwide.

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About the author (2007)


Since the publication of the first English-language edition of Flowering Plants of the World in 1978, our knowledge of the flowering plants has been dramatically changed as a result of a flood of publications on morphology, anatomy, distribution, and molecular phylogeny. Our original intention was to prepare an updated edition of the book to reflect this new information but so extensive were the changes needed that we abandoned the original text in most cases and prepared what is in effect a new book.

The aim of this book is to provide a concise account of all the families that are considered by the authors to be worthy of recognition, taking into account all the latest evidence. The number of families has increased from 306 in Flowering Plants of the World to 506. For each family we have provided a summary of the main features of its distribution and where appropriate details of important genera or other points of interest and often an indication of the type of habitat in which the family grows. We have tried to make the descriptions as consistent in presentation as possible. The section on classification for each family includes where appropriate information on the subdivision of the family into subfamilies and/or tribes and indicates where the circumscription and content of the family has been changed compared with previous treatments. It also summarizes both traditional and the most recent views on relationships, including those suggested by molecular evidence. Significant economic uses are summarized. As a break from the previous book, references are given to key literature but because of space limitations, these have had to be restricted. A general distribution map is given for most families but because of the scale, little detail is possible. Accurate distribution maps are difficult to compile and are surprisingly rare in the literature.

Professor V.H. Heywood The University of Reading, UK



Harvey E Ballard, Jr., Ohio University, Athens, OH (USA)
Diane Bridson, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
R. K. Brummitt, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Martin R. Cheek, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
R. J. Chinnock, State Herbarium, Adelaide (South Australia)
Alastair Culham, The University of Reading (UK)
Aaron Davis, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Alex S. George, Murdoch University, Perth (Western Australia)
David J. Goyder, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Peter S Green, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Vernon H Heywood, The University of Reading (UK)
D.J. Nicholas Hind, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Peter C. Hoch, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri (USA)
Petra Hoffmann, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Stephen L Jury, The University of Reading (UK)
R. V. Lansdown, Stroud (UK)
Eve Lucas, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Roger M. Polhill, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Ole Seherg, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
B. L. Stannard, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
G. W. Staples, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii (USA)
Margaret Tebbs, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Tim Upson, University Botanic Garden, Cambridge (UK)
T.M.A. Utteridge, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Warren L. Wagner, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (USA)
Juliet A. Wege, Department of Environment and Conservation(Australia)
Peter H. Weston, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, NSW (Australia)
Melanie C. Wilmot-Dear(Melanie Thomas), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Elizabeth M. Woodgyer, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)

In addition, the following authors contributed to Flowering Plants of the World (1978), and their contributions have been drawn upon to some extent in preparing the family accounts for Flowering Plant Families of the World (2007).

David Bramwell, Jardín Botánico Canario "Viera y Clavijo," Tafira Alta (Spain)
C.D.K. Cook, University of Zurich (Switzerland)
James Cullen, University Botanic Garden, Cambridge (UK)
W.D. Clayton, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
Jennifer M. Edmonds, University of Leeds (UK)
Christopher J. Humphries, Natural History Museum, London (UK)
Frances K. Kupicha (UK)
B.F. Matthew, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)
David Mabberley, University of Leiden (Netherlands)
David M. Moore, The University of Reading (UK)
B. Morley, Royal Botanic Gardens, Adelaide (South Australia)
B. Pickersgill, The University of Reading (UK)
Ian B.K. Richardson, Reading (UK)
Gordon D. Rowley, The University of Reading (UK)
N.W. Simmonds, University of Edinburgh (UK)
William T. Stearn (deceased)
H.P. Wilkinson, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond (UK)

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