|For over 40 years Peter Bally's monumental account of the genus Monadenium has held the field, but is long out of print, and many new species have been described since 1961. Albert Pritchard wisely does not attempt to rival the monograph, but concentrates on providing good colour illustrations and text to help growers to recognise the species and treasure them in captivity. This is especially important as some are very local and endangered in habitat.|
Albert Pritchard and his wife Daphne have been leading figures in the world of succulent Euphorbieae for around 30 years, and his first book on them was published in 2003. Their travels have taken them to South and East Africa, Marocco, the Canary Islands and India. They founded the original Euphorbiaceae Study Group that ran from 1988 to 2002.
At a time when the taxonomic world is in turmoil as each new study of molecular genetics threatens to overthrow time-honoured classifications, it is hard for any author to decide which side to back when publishing a book such as this. Albert prudently gives both sides a hearing: the familiar traditional names under Monadenium and the new often unfamiliar transfers under Euphorbia. A study of the admirable picture gallery here should enable readers to make up their own minds on just how distinctive monadeniums look to justify status as a separate genus.
Sad to tell, Albert never lived to see his Monadenium book in print. He died in 2009 leaving another manuscript on Jatropha unfinished. However, we can treasure his "Introduction to the Euphorbiaceae" published by Cactus & Co. in 2003, to which the present volume makes a worthy companion.
G. D. Rowley.
Available from Cactus & Co in Europe. This book like all the Cactus & Co publications is good value for money.