The Cactus File Handbook 1
by John Pilbeam
56 pages, softbound, ISBN 0 9528302 0 5
165x235mm, 42 colour photographs and 32 distribution maps

This is a modest start to a series of new popular handbooks on various genera of cacti and succulents. There has been much argument over the years as to the number and nature of the taxa to be placed in this genus. In spite of these arguments the plants, coming from the Chihuahuan desert, have remained firm favourites with collectors. John Pilbeam accepts 25 species and 32 varieties (including the subsumed Hamatocactus setispinus) and all the species and many of the varieties are illustrated. An identification key to all these taxa is provided. There is also a brief but very useful section on cultivation.

This to my knowledge is the first book devoted to this group of plants, and it will therefore be valuable to collectors. The book is illustrated with photographs by Bill Weightman which are of a uniformly high standard. The distribution maps and list of relevant field collection numbers of Lau, Glass and Foster, and Brack will undoubtedly prove valuable to growers of the plants. This booklet is thoroughly recommended to those interested in this group of plants.

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