Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops

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  • 1 University of Florida Wimauma

Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops. Vol. 2. K.V. Peter (ed.) 2007. New Indian Publishing Agency, Pitam Pura, New Delhi, India 110 088. 355 p., 35 color plates. $99.95 hardcover ISBN 81-89422-69-3.

This book is the second volume on underutilized horticultural crops of the Indian subcontinent. Local authorities have prepared 20 chapters beginning with a general introduction on In situ Conservation of Horticultural Crops. The introduction is followed by chapters on specific underutilized crops, including six fruits, five vegetables, one root and tuber crop, two flowers, three trees, and two spices. Thus, there is something for horticulturists of

Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops. Vol. 2. K.V. Peter (ed.) 2007. New Indian Publishing Agency, Pitam Pura, New Delhi, India 110 088. 355 p., 35 color plates. $99.95 hardcover ISBN 81-89422-69-3.

This book is the second volume on underutilized horticultural crops of the Indian subcontinent. Local authorities have prepared 20 chapters beginning with a general introduction on In situ Conservation of Horticultural Crops. The introduction is followed by chapters on specific underutilized crops, including six fruits, five vegetables, one root and tuber crop, two flowers, three trees, and two spices. Thus, there is something for horticulturists of every persuasion.

One chapter is dedicated to the underutilized fruits of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are situated off the eastern coast of India. Many species that offer possibility of increased production are identified and discussed.

Individual chapters on fruits focus on giant granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis L.), apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.), low-chill peach (Prunus persica [L.] Batch.), aonla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn), ber or Chinese date (Ziziphus xylopyrus Willd. or Ziziphus jujuba Mill.).

The vegetable section features two chapters on a multitude of cucurbit crops. Another chapter details vegetables suitable for production in arid areas of India. A short chapter is devoted to obscure plants in the genus Alternanthera Forsk. of the Amaranthaceae family and used as greens. The final vegetable chapter features the Hibiscus L. (roselle) and Abelmoschus Medic. (okra) genera of the Malvaceae family.

A multitude of underutilized root and tuber crops are included in one chapter. These crops are not grown widely but have potential for limited commercial culture. Many are illustrated with excellent images of above and below ground structures.

Underutilized flowering plants are featured in two chapters. One is on numerous types of lilies, and the other is on various native species. The sections on flowers (Clerodendrum spp. L. and others) are well illustrated with colored images.

Mahwa (Bassia latifolia Roxb.), chironji or charoli (Buchanania lanzan Spreng.) and moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.), also known as drumstick or horseradish tree, are the focus of three chapters. Mahwa flowers are used for distilled liquor and potable spirits, and fruits are used in various ways. Chironji fruit are enjoyed raw or roasted. Drumstick is a multipurpose tree having varied uses such as a windbreaks and medicinal preparations of many sorts.

Finally, the spices turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) and long coriander (Eryngium foetidum L.) are included in the last section of the book. Turmeric rhizomes are used as a coloring agent, flavoring spice, and for medicinal purposes. Long coriander leaves are used as a substitute seasoning for coriander especially in Asia and Central America.

The chapters vary considerably in length (3 to 63 pages) and in detail. Citations to local and international literature generally vary with chapter length. The book is not indexed so searching for a particular topic or crop is difficult.

Horticulturists in North America and elsewhere are familiar with the series that is edited by Jules Janick and others and that results from periodic New Crops (and New Uses) Conferences beginning in 1990. Several of these volumes have been reviewed in HortScience. The sixth volume in this series, titled Issues in New Crops and New Uses, resulting from a conference held in San Diego in 2006, will soon be published by ASHS Press.

Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops provides much useful information. However, horticulturists in many parts of the world may find the series edited by Janick to be also relevant to their needs.

Donald N. Maynard University of Florida Wimauma

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