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A History of Succulent Plants

Author: Gordon D. Rowley

Triumphs and tragedies = the history of succulent plants has them all: travels and discoveries, great collections, great books and great people, but also lost fortunes, vanished gardens and missed opportunities. It is but part of the history of plant life on earth, of which succulents comprise about 3% of the group with flowers and seeds. A few contribute to man's physical needs as prickly pears, sisal, tequila, cochineal; aloe and euphorbia were among the earliest medicines in the Old World. The majority are valued as ornamentals or oddities, bizarre or beautiful, "living art", "adored and abhorred but never ignored". So are succulents beautiful? The question has never been analyzed - until now.

Other "firsts" include the saga of Agave americana after its arival in Europe in the sixteenth century, the great cactus cornucopia of the 1840's, the rise of specialist societies, nurseries, and journals, and the pictorial profiles of past celebrities using books, prints, letters, and other memorabilia from the author's own library.

The endless quest for new plants can be linked with changing fads and fashions for their cultivation, with the gradual development of heated glasshouses and cultural techniques, and with the invention of printing and spread of information. Underneath runs the advance of sciences: naming, classification, microscopy and much more.

The "cast of thousands" runs from Theophrastus and Juba to modern collectors, growers, researchers and writers, catalogued here in a biofile of 369 entries.

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Specific Details

Hardcover: 409 pages
Title: A History of Succulent Plants
Author: Gordon D. Rowley
Publisher: Strawberry Press
Date: 1997
ISBN 10: 0912647160
ISBN 13:
Language: English
Weight: 4 lbs 4.6 ounces

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