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Irises and their relatives are lily-like plants related to the orchid and narcissus families, with whom they share a propensity for large, brightly colored, attractive flowers. Many have longlasting flowers--"Iris, Gladiolus," and "Freesia" are among the most important cut-flower crops in the world. The intricate flowers of the iris family are finely adapted for pollination by a variety of animals, including hummingbirds, sunbirds, beetles, butterflies, moths, wasps, and bees. This intimate connection between flower form and pollination biology reveals how the marvelous range of flower colors, shapes, and scents are vital to the lives of the species. The diversity of Iridaceae is illustrated in more than 200 superb photographs supplemented by expert line drawings. A lifetime of work by the world's expert on Iridaceae is distilled in this definitive account. Botanists, ecologists, naturalists, and gardeners will find this an essential reference.
Peter Goldblatt is a leading expert on the iris family, having spent his life studying its taxonomy, evolution, and biology. He is currently Senior Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. A native of South Africa, Peter was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town in 1970. He spent forty years studying irises in South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, and Madagascar. In 1999 he was awarded the International Bulb Society's Herbert Medal. Author of many papers, Peter has written several books, including The Moraeas of Southern Africa (1996), The Genus Watsonia (1989), The Woody Iridaceae (1993), Gladiolus in Tropical Africa (1996), and Gladiolus in Southern Africa (1998). Goldblatt and John C. Manning are coauthors of The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs ( 2002) and Crocosmia and Chasmanthe (2004). In his spare time, Peter enjoys reading and traveling. John C. Manning is Senior Specialist Scientist in the Compton Herbarium, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch. Although he has studied the anatomy, embryology and seed development of plants in diverse families, including the Fabaceae, Proteaceae and Stilbaceae, he has focused his research more recently on the Iridaceae, collaborating on various research projects with Peter Goldblatt. Together they have investigated the evolution and pollination biology of the African genus Lapeirousia and the systematics, pollination systems and evolution of Gladiolus in southern Africa. John and Peter have coauthored several books, including Gladiolus in Southern Africa and various wildflower guides to the southern African flora, the most recent of which was Wildflowers of the Fairest Cape (Redroof Design and Timber Press, 2000). John is also an accomplished botanical artist and photographer; his drawings have been published in numerous books and scientific journals.
Three additional helps, a glossary, cited literature, and index, complete the work. These tools, along with a writing style that the specialist and nonspecialist alike will appreciate, make this comprehensive, well-illustrated volume a must for any academic or large public library. -- T. Johnson Choice 20090801 Take this review in and wave it at your librarian. This book is very, very good. -- Jim Dronenburg Washington Gardener 20091001