Vol. I-III (2005-2009) total over 900 pages.
Vol. I, The Genus Sclerocactus (Cactaceae)
By Fritz Hochstätter, English translation by Chris Holland
This is Volume One of three volumes to be published on the Cacteae tribe over four years and is an extended and revised publication of Hochstätter's earlier work on the genus published last in 1993.
The first thing noticed about the latest book is a larger format (8.9 x 12 inches) and very extensive use of much larger colour photographs than the earlier volume making this a very attractive book to look at. Fritz is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable person on this group of plants having made more than 100 expeditions to their habitats over a period of 26 years. Consequently the book has very detailed documentation of their occurrence, distribution and variation. This is primarily illustrated with the photographs and distribution maps.
Also included are photstat style reproductions of all the original descriptions of the species. Useful to have all in one place but perhaps slightly less vital than the similar reproductions which were given in Fritz's Yucca books where many of the original descriptions were in very hard to access, obscure journals.
Sclerocactus is a frustratingly difficult genus to grow in cultivation, most specimens in the UK being seen on grafts. There are plenty of clues in the book as to why this is so and hints at possible alternative methods for cultivation for those who enjoy a challenge. While there is a small amount of highly technical scientific material included in the book this should not put off the amateur grower since they are not vital to the enjoyment of the book.
While this book will not be for everybody, it is a superb production and I am sure will be eagerly bought by those interested in these rare, beautiful and difficult cacti.
I have only a couple of minor criticisms of the book. Firstly I don't like the modern tendency to use faded picture backgrounds for the picture surrounds. I think it detracts from the beauty of the main pictures and can make the captions harder to read particularly for those with poor eyesight. Secondly I am not keen on the style of the drawings/paintings of the plants by T.Sloan. This is almost certainly a matter of personal taste and I suspect other people will like them.
Hardcover, glossy paper, 225 x 297 mm, 336 pages, total weight, 1.750 kg (1750 gr).
Over 465 colour photos, all species in bloom in habitat, in cultivation in bloom in Europe, 20 art drawings from each plant, 6 distribution maps, 30 SEMs, 30 zymograms, over 25 drawings (rootsystems, spines, fruits, seeds).
Contents: Distribution, checklist of endangered species, overview, taxonomy of the genus Sclerocactus Britton & Rose, key of the genus Sclerocactus, of the sections Mesea-Verdae, Parviflori, Sclerocactus, of the species, subspecies, accepted names with synonyms, Isoenzyme analysis, summary of seed morphology, SEMs of seeds, first descriptions, cultivation and winterhardy aspects, glossary, bibliography, fh - fieldnumbers (updated 2005), herbaria references (documented fh fieldnumber material is in HD, SRP) index of common names, German summary.Available from Navajo Country, Germany. Price: Euro 99.-- plus pp.