So the present book on tropical flowers is an appropriate introduction to flowers in general. They are explored, with examples from the tropics, in approximately one half of the book, from four perspectives: (1) Organization a description of flower organography illustrated with a mixture of SEM views and original line drawings. (2) Floral construction - architecture. Here examples of construction which have the same organization but differ in size, symmetry or the way their construction arises are included. (3) Pollination modes and (4) Breeding systems. These distinctions, between (1) organization and (2) construction, and between (3) pollination modes and (4) breeding systems sometimes appear stretched, are not always obvious but in general are useful.
Another large section deals with the flower diversity of selected orders, families and genera that inhabit the tropics. The many details of these discussions are treated within the framework of the earlier chapters and provide a fascinating glimpse of these organisms and how they interact with their pollinators. Once again, this section is generously illustrated with high quality SEM views and original drawings. Considerable effort is taken to include data and questions about flower function as well as structure. These topics lead to discussions of selection and evolution.
A general discussion of floral evolution and a short chapter on "Prospects" complete the manuscript. Finally, the book ends with a very full bibliography, a helpful glossary of terms, an appendix of the classes, subclasses, orders and families discussed in the book and two indexes; one, a list of the organisms, plants and animals mentioned in the text and a general subject index.
Developmental botanists will wish for more discussion of the cellular basis of organ diversity and will ask about the physiological and molecular basis of the flowers discussed. Unfortunately, for the flowers under discussion, little data exists at levels beyond those examined by the author. The diversity of structure and history represented in these tropical flowers will mean that present ideas of flower development, based on a few model species from temperate latitudes, will ultimately require modification in order to incorporate this diversity within general theories of flower development.
In summary, an excellent book, carefully and thoughtfully produced, that should appeal to a wide spectrum of botanists. - R. I. Greyson (Emeritus), University of Western Ontario, London ON.