I rather don’t write a book reviews, because when a new book appears on the bookstore shelves, I often can’t say loud and clear: „Oh yes, it’s great!“ I don’t want to terrify the authors and publishers… However, I make an exception in this case.
Recently appeared on our editorial desk a two-volume book with an impressive name the Conifers Around the World, but also with a much needed subtitle Conifers of the Temperate Zones and Adjacent Regions. The authors of the book are Zsolt Debreczy and István Rácz, editor of the book is Kathy Musial, the book was published by the Budapest Publishing House DendroPress.
At first sight must be for every reader evident, that he sees the book really exceptional. Two volumes with 1090 pages (format 240 × 320 mm) are really excellent place for a discussion about the conifers. The book contains more than 3,700 color photographs, but also many drawings and maps. I must highlight that photos of a specimens were taken in their natural habitat, garden specimens you don’t find here. The technical parameters of the book (hard cover, paper, layout) can be assessed as a higher standard.
Conifers Around the World
In the opening chapters of the book can be found everything, you need to know about conifers: global distribution, taxonomy, morphology, there is also a treatise about the history knowledge of conifers and chapter about their conservation. I have a minor note in this place: a chapter about the historical classification of conifers our Hungarian friends begin from Caspar Bauhin (1623) – this is our big Czech problem, because we didn’t tell to the neighbouring countries in past times that conifers are a „child“ by our botanist Adam Zalužanský ze Zalužan (1592).
The phytogeographical division of the world is based on a classification developed by the eminent Armenian botanist Armen Takhtajan. The authors, however, assess the Takhtajan’s concept slightly critically, main criterion for them is global distribution of conifers. Although this is mainly described temperate conifers, at this book are included some species of tropical areas too, i.e. those in which strongly pervade the Holarctic elements. There is therefore all Central America, the Caribbean, Indochina and Hainan Island. We can not reproach the authors for this special view of the phytogeographical division of the world, in some ways is even justified. Isn’t the best that in effect it leads to formation a gigantic and quite complicated area such as the whole of Continental Asia and Hainan. Conversely the Madrean Region is again artificially split into two areas. But so be it, about all we can discuss, a giant work raises debate.
Systematic is based on the results of molecular biology. The family Araucariaceae is represented in the book naturally only by South American species Araucaria araucana, it is also earmarked families Cephalotaxaceae, Cupressaceae (for phytogeographical reasons not represented Actinostrobus, Callitris, Neocallitropsis, Papuacedrus and Widdringtonia), Pinaceae, restrictions family Podocarpaceae, but of course there are representatives of Sciadopityaceae and Taxaceae (in this family is missing only Austrotaxus). The taxonomic concept is slightly different from our (Czech) tradition in classification of Pinus uncinata in species Pinus mugo, but are excluded even small Macaronesian species of Juniperus. However, we can say that in the overall concept dominate rather narrower species. Chapter about species is always conceptualized regionally, species are arranged in alphabetical order in each area – each taxon on a separate page. There are therefore a great chapters about conifers of Europe (including North Africa, Anatolia and Macaronesia), Continental Asia and Hainan, Japan and adjacent islands, Taiwan, Western North America, Eastern North America, Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean and Bermuda, Chile and Argentina, Southeastern Australia and Tasmania, New Zealand.
Visual accompaniment of book is fascinating. Drawings, which are included in the chapter about the genera, are really excellent. Irreplaceable element of the book are the maps, both phytogeographical maps and maps of the distribution of species – a really good job! Photographic accompaniment must necessarily impress for everyone – created it many specialists from around the world. Each species is briefly commented and usually accompanied by four photos (habitus, detail of crown, twigs, cones, etc.). There is also an extensive gallery of bark.
There’s only one thing for which I admonish authors – register is best with pagination, and the „full list“ will never replace him!

I’m sure the book Conifers Around the World is one of the basic works of the modern world botanical literature, should not be missing in any botanical library.
The price of this book is not low. But certainly not exaggerated. If you decide to purchase of this book, you can order it directly from the publisher, here is lower price. My personal experience with the postal delivery of book from Hungary is very good. On the publishers web you can see more details of book.

What can I say for the end? I can only sincerely congratulate to Hungarian colleagues and assure them that I look forward to continuing of this book – perhaps one day we will see even the conifers of tropical areas:
Kedves magyar kollégák!
Őszintén gratulálunk e kiváló könyv kiadásához! Várjuk a folytatást.