Anatomy of the Dicotyledons Second Edition, Volume 4: Saxifragales. David F. Cutler, and Mary Gregory (eds.) 1998. ISBN 0 19 8547927 (Hardcover US $175) x + 324 pp., 141 plates (drawings and photomicrographs) Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, United Kingdom.—In 1950, the Jodrell Laboratory at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, gained a much elevated profile in the world of structural botany when the 1500 page work, Anatomy of the Dicotyledons, appeared. This work by C. R. Metcalfe, Keeper of the laboratory, and L. Chalk, of Oxford University, was the first comprehensive work on systematic vegetative anatomy written in English and it became a great stimulus for advancing structural studies. It remains valuable to consult for the profile of anatomical features for the spectrum of dicot families as well as being the key to 2535 references to earlier literature that had accumulated since the translation of Solereder's (1908) Systematic Anatomy of the Dicotyledons.
In the 1950s, Metcalfe , working with a commitment from Oxford University Press, embarked on a companion project, the multi-volume Anatomy of the Monocotyledons. The first volume, by Metcalfe, on Gramineae, appeared in 1960. Subsequent volumes on families or orders have been appearing at irregular intervals since then, the most recent being volume 8. Iridaceae by Paula Rudall in 1995.
After Metcalfe's retirement, David Cutler, successor head of the anatomy section of the laboratory, continued this program and was assisted by Mary Gregory who maintained the anatomical literature database. Noting the accelerating accumulation of literature on dicot systematic anatomy, at least in part due to the heuristic value of the first edition, Cutler and his staff began an ambitious, multi-volume Anatomy of the Dicotyledons, second edition featuring ordinal groupings of families and organized to run in parallel with the monocot program. Two dicot introductory volumes appeared in 1979 and 1983 with chapters describing the use of character states for a variety of vegetative organs and tissues. Volume 3, appearing in 1987 (Magnoliales, Illiciales & Laurales), and the last volume to be written by the late Russell Metcalfe, demonstrated the expanded scope of the family treatments. The current volume featuring Saxifragales continues in that format. The Saxifragales were an excellent choice due to the accumulation of work on those families and because of their evolutionary position among early angiosperms. Most families of the order are diverse, or isolated, and often traditionally placed in polyphyletic groupings.
The volume defines Saxifragales according to Takhtajan's scheme of dicot families (published in the 1983 volume of the Anatomy of the Dicotyledons, second edition) and includes 25 families, ranging from Brunelliaceae to Gunneraceae. Mary Gregory was compiler of 15 family treatments, meaning that existing literature was considered more than adequate to provide the basis for extraction of descriptions and illustrations. Hazel Wilkinson was author of 6 families, R. J. Gornall was author or co-author of 6, and K. I. A. Al-Shammary was author or co-author of 5 families. Mary Gregory was co-author of one treatment. As the longtime compiler of the Jodrell laboratory's anatomical literature database, Gregory's background is in technical editing. However, her decades of dedication to comprehensive review of anatomical literature has blurred the distinction between compiler and anatomist. Her capacity for overview is encyclopedic and her capacity for selection of appropriate detail is entirely reliable.
Cutler and Gregory note that the scope of the Saxifragales has been subject to varying interpretations and segregations of families, so they provide a table in the introduction featuring family placements according to 7 major schemes that address their scope and relationships.
Each of the parallel family treatments covers (when observations are available) leaf morphology and surface features, epidermis, histology of venation, nodes and petioles, young stems, mature xylem, and roots. Then follow notes on economic uses, chemotaxonomy, and taxonomy. Literature consulted is listed at the end of each treatment. As data were extracted from original literature sources, citations are provided within the anatomical descriptions. Under taxonomic notes, current opinions based on cladistic analyses and contemporary data sets are integrated into the discussion on placement of each family. Because of the parallel treatments, comparisons or meta-analyses can be pursued efficiently.
Abundant and well-produced illustrations include drawings of trichomes, petiole and midrib anatomy, stem histology and nodal anatomy, photomicrographs of wood and other histology, and SEM micrographs of hair morphology, and stomata (leaf surfaces).
Lists of diagnostic characters are given near the end of the volume. Approximately 750 references are combined in a common bibliography and are current to the year of publication.
This volume represents a good balance of primary and summarized anatomical data and systematic synthesis. A reading of the extensive taxonomic notes shows them to be informative and thoroughly considered. Scholarship is of the highest order. Students of dicot evolution should find in this work a rich source of data and Cutler and Gregory should be commended for producing it.
I hope the anatomy section of the laboratory, under the leadership of Paula Rudall (following David Cutler's retirement) will find a way to continue this series. The staff and the resources at the laboratory are well organized for accomplishing this task. — Richard C. Keating, Missouri Botanical Garden, P. O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63110
The Plant Vacuole. Roger A. Leigh and Dale Sanders, eds., 1997. Advances in Botanical Research, vol. 25, ISBN 0-12-441870-8 (paper $59.95) 465 pp. Academic Press, 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, California 92101-4495.
The Plant Vacuole. Roger A. Leigh and Dale Sanders, eds., 1997. Advances in Botanical Research, vol. 25, ISBN 0-12-441870-8 (paper $59.95) 465 pp. Academic Press, 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, California 92101-4495.—In contrast with its treatment in many beginning biology courses, the plant vacuole is a remarkably dynamic organelle. In addition to being one of the most conspicuous plant organelles, the vacuole also controls many aspects of physiology, from turgor control to solute storage and signal transduction. The vacuole is reviewed in this book through 15 articles written by an impressive array of contributors. Despite the 1997 date of publication (not my fault, I received it this summer), the material has remained largely up-to-date and interesting.
Within the last decade, considerable information has become available on the functional role of vacuoles. The first two chapters describe the biogenesis of vacuoles from an ultrastructural and molecular perspective. Following chapters discuss the cost-benefit analysis of vacuoles as organelles, discuss the role of the vacuole in cell senescence, the formation of storage organelles (e.g., protein bodies in the aleurone), the compartmentalization of secondary metabolites and xenobiotics in plant vacuoles. The next three articles discuss the composition of solutes in the vacuole, the role of vacuoles in carbohydrate metabolism and vacuolar ion channels in higher plants. The next three articles concern the physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology of ATPases, the molecular and biochemical basis of pyrophosphate-energized proton transport at the vacuolar membrane, and the bioenergetics of vacuolar H+ pumps. This is followed by chapters on the transport of organic molecules and secondary inorganic ion transport across the tonoplast. The final chapter discusses the role of aquaporins in water transport across the tonoplast, which facilitates the diffusion of water into the vacuoles.
Although many of the themes in this book are traditional, there is renewed interest in the role of the vacuole in programmed cell death (similar to apoptosis in animal cells) and the role of the vacuole in sequestering Ca2+ ions that form an important part of the signal transduction cascade. Clearly, molecular and cell biological progress has been remarkable in the last decade in this area. The most significant prior book on vacuoles in my opinion is The Lytic Compartment of Plant Cells by Phillipe Matile (1975) in which evidence from electron microscopy and the physiology of vacuoles was summarized, conferring on the vacuole a lysosomal character. The current volume does not have such a single focus. The current interest in programmed cell death in plants gives vacuoles added importance, controlling cell lysis and the mobilization of nutrients. Vacuoles also accumulate vital ions including critical controlling coenzymes, such as stores of Mg2+ and Ca2+.
The plant vacuole is a critical and uniquely plant organelle. Given the usual treatment this organelle receives in general cell biology texts, this book is recommended to round out the plant cell biology holdings in your office or library. Since this volume is part of the Advances in Botanical Research series, your library may already have acquired it. —Scott D. Russell, Samuel Roberts Noble Electron Microscopy Laboratory, University of Oklahoma