Conifers of the World

By James E. Eckenwalder

cover of conifers of the worldBeing an ardent gymnosperm fan (cone-head) I had been searching for a definitive tome on conifers for years; I think I may have found it.

For me this book by James E. Eckenwalder has just the right balance of information for the keen enthusiast and for the expert. It has been a joy to read through, and each of the genera that I have turned to has been bursting with interesting facts, maps and identification aides.

Eckenwalder is a leading light on the classification and naming of conifers and that shines out in his informative text, it is also importantly up to date with many recent alterations and clarifications. For photography fans, colour photos are out-numbered by original illustrations, but when you do find a photo they are all of the highest quality.

Not only does this book supply you with the author’s immense knowledge and expertise but he never fails to remind you of the wonder of conifers, which provide us with the world's tallest, biggest and oldest of plants.

I was really pleased that in the encyclopedia of conifer species it does not just become an endless ream of technical and botanical jargon but this is always supplemented with pertinent and fascinating ecological and historical information.

Chapters that really caught my eye were paleobotany and evolution, conservation of conifers and discovery of conifer species, but what really made it for me was that Eckenwalder has included an image of Araucaria columnaris on the front cover…genius.

In my opinion if you have this excellent book alongside 'Conifers around the world' by Zsolt Debreczy, you will have everything you could possible need to explore and learn about these most noble of trees.

Order this beautiful book from Timber Press

Review by Jamie McCormack, Eden Project, Oct 2009