by Ivan Holliday and Geoffrey Watton
Published in 2008 by Australian Plants Society (S.A. Region)
Reviewed by Barry Jahnke
The first Edition of this book was published by Rigby Limited in Adelaide in 1975 and was not the first book of this nature or usefulness by Ivan Holliday. Geoffrey Watton, also a well-known member of the S.A. Region, has joined Ivan as co-author of two other titles on Native Australian Plants, including “A Gardener’s Guide to Eucalypts” (Rigby 1980).
This current edition provides information on the 77 species known at the time of revising, as well as 27 subspecies, varieties and cultivars. Since then there has been other botanical revision which has included the controversial decision to place all Dryandra species into Banksia.
The Introduction provides a good overview of what are Banksias, including their biology. This is followed by a 1½ page introduction to cultivation of Banksias, including references to several South Australian experiences.
The major part of the book provides each species with a two-page coverage which includes at least two photographs and a distribution map. The species are easy to find, as they are set out in alphabetic order.
The text includes a description in laymen’s language, a distribution which includes ecology and a brief paragraph on the species cultivation.
Unlike some pocket-guide sized books, this one includes an almost full-page bibliography and a 2½ page glossary, where the terms could have been in larger print. Most of the colour reproductions are good to excellent.
Overall a very handy guide for anyone interested in the biology and horticulture of these iconic plants.
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