Monday, November 24, 2008

Legumes of the World

         In July 2005 Legumes of the World, edited by Gwilym Lewis, Brian Schrire, Barbara Mackinder and Mike Lock, was published by Kew. This first fully-illustrated encyclopaedia of the world`s 727 legume genera is an authoritative compendium of legume information and it has already received much international acclaim. The text was contributed by the four editors together with 20 internationally renowned legume scientists and is lavishly illustrated throughout with over 1,100 photographs, paintings and line drawings, including 105 line drawings commissioned from the botanical artist Pat Halliday.

         The book contains introductory chapters on the classification of the legume family and its biogeography. These are followed by accounts of all legume genera, arranged systematically by tribe and subfamily. The generic accounts give the main synonyms, number of species, geographical range, etymology, ecology, phylogenetic notes and economic uses. Each account also lists the main taxonomic and phylogenetic references, and these are given in full in a meticulously compiled bibliography. To aid the reader to navigate through the mine of information there is a section titled 'about the book', as well as a complete synopsis of legume genera and three separate indexes (to illustrations, vernacular names and scientific names).

         The arrangement of the genera is based on a combination of morphologically derived taxonomies and new molecular analyses of the family. The result is a new systematic framework which spotlights as yet untapped economic potential in this important family by placing closely related genera near each other.

         The book will appeal to the professional, student and amateur across a broad range of disciplines. It is reasonably priced at £55, a price tag only made possible by the donations of a number of generous sponsors.

         Contact: Dr Gwilym Lewis ([email protected])
         Legumes of the World (Eds G. Lewis, B. Schrire, B.Mackinder, M. Lock); Kew Publishing;
         ISBN 1 900 34780 6; £55.
         Available from

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