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Les Tillandsias et les Racinaea

Paperback: 815 pages
Publisher: Belin (April 17, 2000)
Language: French
ISBN-10: 2701128218
ISBN-13: 978-2701128214
Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 7.1 x 1.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds

Roguenant, Albert: Les Tillandsias et les Racinaea
Verlag Belin, Flores Botaniques ( ISBN 2-7011-2821-8)
815 Seiten, in franzosischer Sprache

Dieses Buch enthalt neben allgemeinen Angaben ausfuhrliche Hinweise zur Systematik. Es werden mehr als 700 Arten beschrieben mit Angaben zu Kultur und Verbreitungsgebiet. Viele Farbfotos, eine Hybridenliste und ein illustrierter Bestimmungsschlussel.

This is now the only comprehensive book on Tillandsias currently in print. In scope, it is exhaustive, and a major technical update on the work of Smith and Downs published by Flora Neotropica in 1977. It is written in French, but this should not deter the serious student of tillandsia as there is a nice dictionary at the back with key technical terms translated into English, Spanish and Deutsche. French is an intuitive language for English-speakers, and with an inexpensive general language dictionary to augment the technical one included in the book one can soon understand what is being said here.

Les Tillandsia et les Racinaea measures 28 cm x 19 cm (11" x 7") with 816 pages and weighs over 2 kg. There are individual plant pages for 700 species, mostly with colour illustrations, although some have only line drawings. Each plant page has main sections describing the whole plant, the inflorescence, the flowers, and cultivation. There is also a "notes" box detailing, when available, synonyms, references to the plant in other publications, habitat and distribution.

The book also has a Glossary with line drawings illustrating the technical terms for the various shapes of leaves and floral parts, a very good overview of tillandsias' native habitats (illustrated), a general overview of tillandsia structure (morphology), and an identification key.

The identification key is excellently presented, and quickly guides you to your plant. Click on the illustration above ("identification key") to see how it works:

I do not speak French, but can see that the top line tells us to start at blue box 1 to see whether we have a Tillandsia or a Racineae (the line under that is a note that there is a key to the red-flowered tillandsias of Brazil on page 167. This is based on Renate Ehlers' work).

Box 1 has two possible answers: the petal shape is either 1a, Racinaea, or 1b Tillandsia. The illustrations show the difference pretty dramatically, and the wording is obviously telling us that for 1a the sepals are asymmetrical, oblong, and with the fat bit at the top (apex) while for 1b the sepals are symmetrical with the fat bit at the base. Some plants will have sepals that are not as clearly defined, and if they do not easily fit into one of the generalized shapes you will need to dig deeper into the text and look up some of the other attributes in the technical dictionary of the book. Having made a decision, you then proceed: if 1a you go to section X11 on page 162 (Racinaea). If 1b you have a tillandsia and go to blue box 2. Here the main distinguishing attribute is the "Limbes des feuilles" - beyond me, so look up the dictionary in the back and we find that "limbe" is a blade and "feuille" is a leaf - so we are looking at the shape of the leaf blades. Following our decision, we then proceed to blue box 3 if the answer was 2a, otherwise to blue box 10. And so on we go....

To order this book: New Zealand customers go here, other countries go here.

Review by Dr. Jason R. Grant:

"The first book on bromeliads in over a century to be originally published in French, this handsome book devoted to the genera Tillandsia and Racinae covers more than 700 species. It begins with chapters discussing their discovery and subsequent taxonomic study, distribution and ecology; cultivation; morphology; glossary; and systematic's including a key to the species. Following these prose chapters is the bulk of the book where typically each page covers a single species. For each taxon there is a morphological description, notes on cultivation, a bibliography, and either a color photograph or line drawing. Appendices include a bibliography of cited texts, and one of the most useful elements in the book, being a four-language comparative lexicon (French, English, Spanish, German). As the author is a renowned horticulturalist, the most important and relevant part of the book may be portions covering cultivation in general and then the specific notes for each species. Additionally, the descriptive and illustrative key to the species is certainly the most comprehensive composed to date, combining the species of Smith & Downs (1977) with all the species published since then. While most of the photos represent plants in flower, too many are of sterile plants or line drawings, yet the reasoning to include them was valid in to show at least something even if the flowering individual was unavailable. There are also a number of species misidentifications but these matters are insignificant in the greater achievement of the volume as one of the most significant books on bromeliads.

This book is essential not only for French-speaking horticulturalists, amateurs, and biologists, but for anyone interested in Tillandsia as much of the text is universal...."

reprinted from Journal of the Bromeliad Society Vol. 52, #1 January-February 2002, page 38.

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