A compelling account of the extraordinary relatives of ordinary garden conifers.
Leading expert Aljos Farjon provides a compelling narrative that observes conifers from the standpoint of the curious naturalist. It starts with the basic question of what conifers are and continues to explore their evolution, taxonomy, ecology, distribution, human uses, and issues of conservation. As the story unfolds many popular misconceptions are dispelled, such as the false notion that all conifers have cones. The extraordinary diversity of conifers begins to dawn as Farjon describes the diminutive creeping shrub Microcachrys tetragona, whose strange seed cones resemble raspberries, and the prehistoric-looking Araucaria meulleri.
The taxonomic diversity of conifers is huge and Farjon goes on to relate how, over the course of 300 million years, these trees and shrubs have adapted to survive geological upheavals, climatic extremes, and formidable competition from flowering plants. All who seek to learn more about the early history of life on our planet will cherish this book.
About the Author
Aljos Farjon headed the temperate section of the herbarium at the Royal Botanic gardens, Kew 1996–2006. He has published 10 books and more than 120 papers mainly, but not exclusively, on conifers. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, Chair of the Conifer Specialist Group of IUCN (the World Conservation Union) and a member of both the International Association for Plant Taxonomy and the Royal Horticultural Society’s Conifer Registration Advisory Committee.
“Organized in topically centered, lively chapters that include a discussion of conifer ecology and conservation. It is well illustrated with color photographs and line drawings of the trees, their structures, and the landscapes they dominate. Not exactly an encyclopedia but rather a sourcebook, this is the place to go for information about conifers. Highly recommended.” —Choice
“If you want to find out more about conifers, then [this book] by the naturally acclaimed expert, Aljos Farjon, will sate your curiosity, your thirst for knowledge and your enthusiasm for those exciting plants that make up this group.” —Virginia Master Gardeners Association
“Not since Rachel Carson has the public been graced with a scientist that writes with the interest of a novelist. Anyone with a curiosity about the early history of plant life on our planet will relish this book.” —Garden Compass