EC Biological Sciences

Lehrbuch der Botanik [Botany Handbook]. Founded by E. Strasburger. Ed. Andreas Bresinsky. 36th rev. ed. Heidelberg: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 2008. xvi, 1175 p. ill. 27 cm. (Previous title: Lehrbuch der Botanik für Hochschulen.) ISBN 978-3-8274-1455-7: EUR 89.95 [08-1/2-358]

Alle Abbildungen des Buches Strasburger Lehrbuch der Botanik [All Illustrations from Strasburger’s Botany Handbook]. Founded by E. Strasburger. Ed. A. Bresinsky. 36th ed. Heidelberg: Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 2009. 1 DVDROM. ISBN 978-3-8274-2064-0: EUR 29.95 [08-1/2-359]

When Eduard Strasburger (1844-1912) and three colleagues compiled the first edition of this book (1894), none of them had any idea they were laying the cornerstone for the greatest German botanical standard reference, which over the next 115 years would be reissued in 36 subsequent editions and translated into eight languages. This 36th edition brings with it the first change from the original title, Lehrbuch der Botanik für Hochschulen [Botany Handbook for Institutions of Higher Education] . From the first to the present edition, the text has grown from 558 to 1,175 pages; the price has grown from 7.50 Reichsmark to EUR 89.95.

The volume begins with a timeline of significant botanical discoveries from 300 B.C. to the present, followed by a general introduction to the biological sciences. Four color-coded sections with a total of 14 chapters describe the four main areas of botany: structure, physiology, evolution and taxonomy, and ecology. A large number of (usually color) illustrations, tables, and schematics supplement the texts. Bibliographical references can be found at the end of each article as well as in a separate bibliography. A guide to abbreviations, and tables of units and symbols round out the volume. Surprisingly, there is no glossary of terms, but there is a very comprehensive index.

For an additional EUR 29.95 one can get a DVD-ROM of all illustrations from the various chapters in several output forms (jpg, pdf and ppt) which enable users to export the images to their own work. Unfortunately, the tables are not included. The CD-ROM titled “Interaktive Studienhilfe und Wörterbuch” [Interactive Study Aid and Dictionary], available with the 35th edition, does not accompany the 36th. One would hope that an updated version of this study aid might still be added. Digitized copies of earlier (pre-1980) editions can be found in archives like the HathiTrust and GoogleBooks, and can be identified quickly via WorldCat.

At the pace of change in the biological sciences, it is a challenge to continue to offer university students the fundamentals of their field in a clearly arranged single volume. The authors of the Strasburger have succeeded again in this new edition, introducing the fundamentals of botany as well as the latest research and applications. Anyone studying botany will find it hard to avoid this standard work, sometimes called the “botanists’ Bible.” [jr/hh]

Kräuter und Blumen: kommentiertes Bestandsverzeichnis der botanischen Bücher bis 1850 in der Bibliothek des Germanischen Nationalmuseums Nürnberg [Herbs and Flowers: An Annotated Catalog of the Botanical Books to 1850 in the Library of the Germanic National Museum in Nürnberg]. Eduard Isphording. Nürnberg: Verlag des Germanischen Nationalmuseums, 2008. 327 p. ill. 28 cm. ISBN 978-3-936688-31-3: EUR 38 [08-1/2-361]

The editor of this volume, a librarian for many years at the Germanic National Museum, is the author of two previous catalogs of the Museum’s 20th-century book-arts collections: SeitenAnsichten [Page Views], covering 1945-2000 (see RREA 6:12) and the more recently published DraufSichten [OverViews] covering 1945-1990 (see RREA 11:9).

The catalog under review lists in chronological order 310 imprints and manuscripts from the mid-14th century to the mid-19th century (plus, in a “Postscript,” two imprints from the 20th century and an appendix of 23 facsimiles). Each is given extensive bibliographic data: author, title in modernized form, place and year of publication, publisher, extent and format (omitting signatures, however), illustrations, citation in the standard bibliographies, call-number and copy-specific details, and provenance. The bibliographical description is followed by detailed information about the authors, printing and publication history of the books, illustrations, and more. The 310 mostly black-and-white illustrations, some of which are of text pages, are hard to discern due to their very small size. A brief introduction on “The Picture in Botany” and an introduction by the director of the Germanic National Museum precede the main text. A brief glossary and separate indexes of authors and personal names, as well as a thorough bibliography, are added at the end. A chronological listing of the titles covered in this catalog would have been helpful. [sh/hh]

Ein Garten Eden: Meisterwerke der botanischen Illustration = Garden of Eden = Un jardin d’Éden [...: Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration]. Ed. H. Walter Lack for the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. English transl. Martin Walters; French transl.Thérèse Chatelain-Südkamp. Rev. ed. Hong Kong; Köln: Taschen, 2008. 576 p. ill. 33 cm. (Taschen’s 25th anniversary special editions). ISBN 978-3-8365-0302-0 (German); ISBN 978-3-8365-0304-4 (English); ISBN 978-3-8365-0303-7 (French): EUR 19.99 [08-1/2-362]

The present catalog is one of the special volumes released by the Taschen Verlag in celebration of its 25th anniversary. This particular title was first published in 2001 to accompany an exhibition in the Austrian National Library. The new edition is larger in format, hardbound, and less expensive. H. Walter Lack, director of the botanical garden and botanical museum in Berlin-Dahlem, selected 100 volumes, presented here in chronological order, beginning with the Wiener Dioskurides, a Byzantine manuscript from the year 512, continuing with a 1532 imprint from Strasburg and ending with a Codex Liechtenstein facsimile published in 2000. The emphasis is on the high-quality botanical illustrations contained in these works and reproduced in the catalog; bibliographical information (author, title, publishing place and date) and texts—usually dealing with the artist and his technique—are kept to a minimum. All texts are in German, repeated in smaller print in English and French. Changes vis-à-vis the 2001 edition include the addition of Latin botanical names as well as the German, English, and French names of the plants, eight new titles in the bibliography at the end, a brief afterword, and an updated index of Latin botanical names. All other indexes were adopted unchanged from the previous edition. While primarily a picture book and a feast for the eyes, this volume does belong in the collections of libraries, especially those with their own richly illustrated botanical books. [sh/hh]

Flora der Gehölze: Bestimmung, Eigenschaften und Verwendung [Plants of the Forest: Identification, Characteristics, and Uses]. Andreas Roloff and Andreas Bärtels. With a winter identification guide by Bernd Schulz. 3d rev. ed. Stuttgart (Hohenheim): Ulmer, 2008. 855 p. ill. maps. 21 cm. ISBN 978-3-8001-5614-6: EUR 29.90 [08-1/2-364]

As is customary with field guides, the nomenclature and botanical systems are explained in an introductory section and botanical terms are illustrated by detailed drawings at the front of this volume. The trees are then arranged according to cold-hardiness zones and habitat. Maps on the front and back lining papers show the zones. Abbreviations and symbols used in the book are listed on a useful loose leaf which can be moved to wherever it is needed. A list of endangered and protected trees completes the introductory section. The identification guide and species description begins with a detailed identification key that serves to lead the user to the entry for the correct tree. The trees themselves are arranged alphabetically by scientific name. Each species is described with regard to its habitat, leaves, flowers, fruits, distribution, and use and illustrated with several drawings. If you know the Latin name of the plant you seek, you can turn straight to it. If you are familiar only with the German name, the index of German plant names will tell you the Latin term to look under. It is unclear how many tree species are listed here. The authors mention “over 2,000 trees that can be found here,” but the publisher’s blurb on the back cover mentions 4,000 Central European hardwoods and conifers. This could be made clearer. New and useful is the winter identification key based chiefly on buds on bare trees. A bibliography and the aforementioned index of German plant names round out the volume.

This book is not simply a field guide for amateurs. Botanical knowledge and a willingness to immerse oneself in plant identification are a must. For native German forest plants this is an outstanding reference book. [jr/hh]

Myko libri: die Bibliothek der Pilzbücher: Pilzführer, große Ikonographien, Meilensteine der Mykologie, Floren und Spezialmonographien, Taxonomie und Systematik, Bibliographie, Mykogastronomie, Ethno-Mykologie, Halluzinogene, Giftpilze, Trüffel [Library of Fungus Books: Mushroom Guides, Comprehensive Iconographies, Milestones of Mycology, Floras and Specialized Monographs, Taxonomy and Systems, Bibliographies, Mushroom Gastronomy, Ethnomycology, Hallucinogens, Poisonous Mushrooms, Truffles]. Christian Volbracht. Limited ed. of 750 copies. Hamburg: Volbracht, 2006.xii, 525 p. ill. 30 cm. EUR 140 (mykolibri@aol.com) [08-1/2-365]

A mushroom-collecting hobby led the author, by trade a journalist and foreign correspondent, to collect books about mushrooms. Duplication in his book collection developed eventually into an antiquarian book store named MykoLibri (also online at http://www.mykolibri.de/bibliothek/index.html). The present catalog, issued in a limited edition of 750 copies, describes his private library in 2,297 numbered entries, plus 22 more in an addendum. It compares favorably with the previous leading mushroom book catalog, Fungorum libri bibliothecae Joachim Schliemann (Vaduz, 1976). It has more titles, much better annotations, and excellent bibliographical descriptions. It especially shines in regard to the illustrations, which include many title pages and mushroom illustrations, some of them full-page and in color. The listed books range from incunables to a 1959 imprint and include 12 manuscripts. Multiple editions or copies of one title are listed under the same heading, so that the actual number of listed books far exceeds the 2,297 numbered titles. Citations to previous bibliographies and catalogs are also included. A 20-page bibliography of bibliographies completes the volume. All that is missing is an index of personal names, which would have been a desirable addition. The table of contents and list of books index is available at http://bvbr.bib-bvb.de:8991/exlibris/aleph/a18_1/apache_media/6U6LNQM9A3DFSK792BTJ5RB2QPLRQ7.pdf.

There can be no doubt that this is and will remain for the foreseeable future the definitive annotated bibliography of mushroom books. No mycologist, collector, antiquarian bookseller or academic library should be without it. [sh/hh]

Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen; dictionary of plant names; dictionnaire des noms de plantes; 20000 Arten, 10000 Synonyme, aktualisierte Nomenklatur [...: 20,000 Species, 10,000 Synonyms, Updated Nomenclature]. Walter Erhardt. Founded by Robert Zander. Transl. Michael Ashdown. 18th ed. Stuttgart (Hohenheim): Ulmer, 2008. 983 p. map. 21 cm. ISBN 978-3-8001-5408-1: EUR 39.90 [08-1/2-366]

Der große Zander: Enzyklopädie der Pflanzennamen [The Comprehensive Zander: Encyclopedia of Plant Names]. Walter Erhardt. Founded by Robert Zander. Transl. Claudia Arlinghaus. 2 vols. Stuttgart (Hohenheim): Ulmer, 2008. 2103 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7: EUR 99 [08-1/2-367]

Established in 1927 by the botanist and landscape design expert Robert Zander, the Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, as it was called up to the 17th edition (2002), has become an indispensable reference work for the correct scientific identification of plants, especially those used in agriculture and industry. The new, 18th edition lists around 20,000 species and 10,000 synonyms. An alphabetical listing of the genera and species is preceded by a prefatory section in German, English, and French, which introduces each contributor with a brief biography and bibliography. This is followed by concise chapters on botanical terminology and the principles of species naming, the cold-hardiness zones, and the abbreviations and technical terms used in the dictionary. A distribution map and explanations of the map symbols can be found inside the back cover.

The genera and species are listed alphabetically, and each entry includes the common names in German, English, and French, as well as morphology, uses, cold-hardiness zones, flowering season, and protection, all in the form of symbols. The 36 symbols are printed inside the front cover; it would have been more practical to provide them on a moveable sheet to lay next to the open page. Some pronunciation aids for the Latin names would have been helpful. The volume closes with an index of German, English, and French plant names and the names of the contributors, as well as a very extensive bibliography which list monographs, journal titles, CD-ROMs, and Internet sites.

What is the difference between the Comprehensive Zander and the one-volume dictionary? The two-volume edition contains far more species from all over Europe. Families and genera are separated from the species and cultivars. The introductory chapters are largely the same as in the one-volume work. The International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) and International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) are described in great detail. Volume 1 lists 3,600 families and genera, greatly enhanced by extensive identification keys with good drawings. The alphabetical genera and species list in volume 2 (25,500 species) uses the same symbol system as the onevolume dictionary, but is much larger. The index structure is the same; the bibliography is marginally longer.

The Zander is the undisputed leader in the field of plant identification, and the new two-volume version sets the bar even higher. Those who purchase the two-volume work need not supplement it with the one-volume dictionary, as the latter is basically a subset of the former. Academic libraries should definitely buy this book. [jr/hh]

Alpenpflanzen in ihren Lebensräumen: ein Bestimmungsbuch [Alpine Plants in Their Habitats: An Identification Guide]. Peter Mertz. Bern; Stuttgart: Haupt, 2008. 480 p. ill. 20 cm. ISBN 978-3-258-07195-4: SFr. 49.90, EUR 29.90 [08-1/2-368]

This “field guide,” as the subtitle calls it, attempts to introduce the alpine plant world via 18 biotopes grouped into five habitats: forest, scrub forest, alpine meadow, bog, and extreme habitat. An introductory overview of the Alps describes 28 alpine regions; another introductory chapter is titled “Reading Landscapes.” All of this presents a rather difficult approach for the layperson, as it takes a good deal of practice to recognize the differences between biotopes. The main body of the book is devoted to describing the various plants that occur in these biotopes. Following the elucidation of the biotope, plants are described four at a time on two-page spreads, description on the left, picture on the right. In all, 480 plants are represented. A substantial glossary explains technical terms. The bibliography has only 15 entries, but lists the main alpine flora books. Separate indexes of scientific and German names round out the volume.

Usually a field guide is organized by recognizable characteristics of the plants, such as flower color or leaf shape. In this book, one must approach through the biotope to identify a plant. Many plants occur in several biotopes, but are only represented in one. The difficulty in using it as an identification guide is evident. A further drawback are the small photographs, mostly of habitats, which often do not show enough detail. In the case of the many species of grasses and members of the daisy family, for example, this detail is imperative. This book provides a good overview of the various alpine biotopes and is a good introduction for the layperson. It is less appropriate for the specialist. And it is definitely not a field guide. A better companion on a mountain hike would be one of the many richly illustrated field guides for alpine flowers, e.g., Blumen der Alpen (Stuttgart, 2006). [jr/hh]

Vogelzug: eine aktuelle Gesamtübersicht [Bird Migration: An Up-To-Date Survey]. Peter Berthold. 6th ed. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007. 280 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-534-20267-6: EUR 29.90 [08-1/2-372]

The author, an outstanding specialist in the area of bird migration, describes this phenomenon in 11 chapters, covering evolution to ecology, in scientifically sophisticated and at the same time very accessible terms. The texts are enhanced by numerous black-and-white illustrations. He makes especially clear the implications of global climate change and its influence on the future of the 50 billion birds that migrate annually. A rather short glossary is followed by a much more thorough bibliography and index. The “up-to-date” aspect of this edition (as indicated in the subtitle) is called into question when one reads the foreword, which notes that the 6th edition is an unaltered reprint of the 5th edition; the included foreword to the 5th edition tells us that it in turn is a faithful reprint of the 4th edition of 1999. This implies that the information is ten years old, and one has to ask: has so little happened in the science of bird migration in the past ten years that a systematic revision would not be in order? Nonetheless, this is the standard reference work for bird migration science. There is also a spoken word CD version available, Faszination Vogelzug: Von Aristoteles bis zur globalen Klimaerwärmung [Fascination with Bird Migration: From Aristotle to Global Climate Change] (2 CDs, 2004). [jr/hh]

Die Eulen Europas: Biologie, Kennzeichen, Bestände [The Owls of Europe: Biology, Characteristics, Populations]. Theodor Mebs and Wolfgang Scherzinger. Rev. and updated ed. Stuttgart: Franckh-Kosmos, 2008. 398 p. ill. 28 cm. (Kosmos-Naturführer). ISBN 978-3-440-11642-5: EUR 49.90 [08-1/2-373]

Like bats, owls are rarely observed because their activity is chiefly nocturnal. Thanks to the Kosmos-Verlag, both of these fascinating animal families now have comprehensive reference books that thoroughly cover their biology and the European species (for the bats, see RREA 13:257). Like the bat handbook, the owl guide is divided into two major parts. The first is a thorough overview of evolution, anatomy, physiology, ecology, and species protection of owls. A combination of excellent photographs, clear drawings, and tables enhances/supplements the scientific yet accessible texts. Numerous footnotes refer to the extensive (176-title) bibliography at the end. In the second part, the 13 European owl species are each given in-depth treatment covering general information, attributes, distribution, habitat, population density and range, behavior and call, food, reproduction, migration, endangered status, and protective measures taken. In this second section, too, the illustrations, tables, and photographs are excellent. The volume contains a two-page identification table for European owls, a table of owl population numbers by European country, and a list of useful addresses, also by country. This is followed by the bibliography and an excellent index. Unfortunately no Internet addresses are provided.

With its bat and owl books, this publishing company has created impressive basic reference works that should become the standard for future animal guides. These books are a “must have” for all bat and owl fans, professional and amateur alike, and can also be highly recommended for libraries of all types. [jr/hh]

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Last update: April 2011 [LC]
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