Recent Book Releases – Cultivation and diseases of Proteaceae

Cultivation and diseases of Proteaceae:  Leucadendron, Leucospermum and Protea,  BIO CBS Biodiversity Series 13.

By Pedro W. Crous, Sandra Denman, Joanne E. Taylor, Lizeth Swart,

Carolien M. Bezuidenhout, Lynn Hoffman, Mary E. Palm. & Johannes Z. Groenewald.

2013. Utrecht: CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre. [CBS Biodiversity Series no. 13.] Pp. 360, figs 152, plates 34. ISBN 978-90-70351-95-3. Price: 75 €.

The first edition was issued by CBS in 2004 (Crous et al. 2004) and really made an impression because of the holistic approach adopted; a vademecum for pathologists and horticulturalists as well as mycologists concerned with these so attractive plants that are increasingly used in the cut-flower trade. This edition has increased in size by a massive 55 % (148 pages), and benefited from having three additional authors to improve the depth of coverage. Topics covered embrace crop improvement, propagation, cultivation, harvesting, post-harvest handling, and export/phytosanitary regulation – and of course the diseases. Sixty-two diseases are treated, some caused by more than a single fungal species. These are arranged in groups according to the parts of plants affected: foliar; stem, shoot and flower; and root – followed by a chapter on diseases caused by bacteria and phytoplasms. The fungi involved are described and illustrated, with full bibliographic information and synonymy, and notes on culture characteristics, hosts and geographical ranges, disease cycles and epidemiology, disease management strategies, and control. The illustrations are a combination of line drawings and photographs, many in colour, and these are supplemented at the end of the book by 34 superb colour plates showing diseased plants and taken in the field or in cultivation. The upgrading of the illustrative material is perhaps one of the most obvious changes from the 2004 edition, where the text photographs were mostly half-tones. Overall, this work is a combination of sound taxonomy and pragmatism, and one which also will surely not only increase the alertness of those exploiting these plant genera to diseases, but provide a tool for their identification. It is also serves as a model for a type of one-stop-shop reference source that groups concerned with other plant diseases may wish to endeavour to emulate.

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