Mesembs of the World

This brand new guide to the Mesembs of the World has been published at a time when there are no other modern books available in which all the genera of the Mesembryanthemaceae are discussed in detail and illustrated in full colour. It is a wonderful book of over 400 pages, illustrated with almost 700 colour photographs, and packed with authoritative information written by some of the world's most respected authorities on this large and complex group of plants. It is aimed at the keen collector, and provides a broad range of information about the plants.

The book provides an easy to read overview of the 123 Mesemb genera that are currently recognized. The genera are split into fourteen groups based on growth habit. These groups do not necessarily reflect any direct botanical relationships between the genera. The groups are as follows: 'weedy mesembs'; 'flat-leaved mesembs'; 'flowering mesembs'; 'tongue-leaved mesembs'; 'rough-leaved mesembs'; 'tooth-leaved mesembs'; 'tufted mesembs'; 'bead-leaved mesembs'; 'mat-forming mesembs'; 'dwarf shrubby mesembs'; 'glittering shrubby mesembs'; 'Lampranthus-like shrubby mesembs'; 'Ruschia-like shrubby mesembs'; and 'Leipoldtia-like shrubby mesembs'.

The text for each genus includes information on a range of topics, including: the derivation of the generic name; information on common names applied to members of the genus; a general description of the physical characters of the plants in the genus; details of distinguishing characters of the genus; information on the flowering time of the plants; the distribution and ecology of the genus is discussed, and a small map shows the recorded distribution of the members of the genus; notes on cultivation include details of the growing and resting periods, and basic details on the recommended methods of propagation; sundry notes may appear, such as information on recent or future combinations or transfers of species from one genus to another; the number of species currently recognized in each of the genera is recorded, along with numbers of subspecies and varieties, and a full list of the accepted species names is included; finally, details of the most recent or relevant literature references are included.

Illustrations for each of the genera vary in number, but there are usually several, and for the larger genera there may be up to 15 or more species illustrated. The overwhelming majority of the photographs appear to have been taken in habitat, and they are of a very high quality.

Additional chapters include; a general overview and introduction entitled 'Magic of Mesembs'; 'Distribution and ecology'; 'Conservation'; 'Uses of Mesembs'; and 'Cultivation'. There is also an interesting discussion on 'How to identify the Mesemb groups', with details of the varying characteristics of the fruit capsules. The book closes with a key to the genera, and an Index.

This book is the result of a collaboration between a number of well-known students of this group of plants: Steven Hammer, Ernst van Jaarsveld, Pascale Chesselet, Gideon Smith, Heidi Hartmann, Ben-Erik van Wyk, Priscilla Burgoyne, Cornelia Klak and Hubert Kurzweil. It certainly does not read as though it has been written by a number of authors, and they are to be congratulated on combining their talents so effectively and harmoniously.

Never before has there been a book on Mesembs to compare to this. This is a delightful publication, beautifully presented, and an absolute mine of information on the Mesembryanthemaceae.

404pp, 240x167mm, hardbound.
Publisher: Briza Publications, South Africa.
Illustrated in full colour throughout, with 689 colour photographs, and a distribution map for each of the 123 genera included.
Published 1998.

Price: including p&p UK, including p&p rest of world.

Available now from the publishers of The Cactus File.

Further pricing and delivery details are available on the Ordering Information page.

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