Introduction to Fruit Crops

in HortScience
Duane W. GreenUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts

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Introduction to Fruit Crops. Mark Rieger (University of Florida). 2006. The Haworth Press, 10 Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 13904-1580. 462 pp. $69.95 softcover. ISBN-13: 978-1-56022-259-0/ ISBN-10: 1-56022-259-X

This book is quite unique among fruit books in that it covers a wide range of perennial, edible, economically important plants that are defined botanically as fruit. Consequently, it includes 7 types of nuts, 18 traditional temperate, subtropical and tropical fruits and several less common fruits including cacao, coconut, coffee, and palm oil. The first chapter offers an abridged introduction to the botany, distribution, culture, pest control and storage of fruit crops. In this chapter, there are 30 plates containing 178 high-quality, glossy, colored photographs. The chapter contains an extensive glossary of terms that by itself is very instructive and useful. The index is extensive, clear, and easy to use. A major strength or value of this book resides in the unusual and nontraditional information for each fruit, giving information that is often lacking in other introductory fruit books. Specifically, information on medicinal properties, folklore, and contributions to the diet are most useful and interesting additions. Introduction to Fruit Crops is an extremely well written book that is very easy to read.

All chapters are structured in the same way. This format is quite helpful since the categorization makes it very easy to locate specific facts about an individual crop. Very useful information is presented and is not found in other similar books, and this property may be one of the major strengths of this book. Notes on individual chapters follow.

Taxonomy. This chapter includes genus and species, commercially important species, and botanically related fruit crops. When appropriate, important cultivars are named.

Origin, History and Cultivation. The region of origin and history and description of movement in the world for each fruit crop are described.

Folklore, Medicinal Properties, and Nonfood Uses. In addition to the traditional food uses, many fruit have an equally important history for medicinal use and in myth, folk lore, or symbolism.

Production. The important countries in which each fruit is produced are given along with the percentage of the world production in a given country. A separate section is reserved for production in the United States, where the states with the highest productions and the percent production are ranked.

Botanical Description. The plant size and growth habit, flower structure and description, pollination requirements, and fruit classification and description are provided for each crop.

General Culture. This section contains soils and climate preferences, propagation methods, rootstocks used if appropriate, major pest problems, and planting, design, training and pruning in cultivation of the crops.

Harvest and Postharvest Handling. Criteria used to determine the time of harvest, methods of harvest, and methods and length of storage are discussed.

Contributions to the Diet. The dietary value and percentage of the recommended daily allowance for each vitamin and nutrient are provided for fruits. Also listed are the major food uses and the utilization statistics.

Bibliography. Each chapter concludes with a useful bibliography of selected references that direct the reader to further information on each fruit discussed.

This book would be of interest to a wide horticultural audience. It may be most useful to instructors in an introductory horticulture course, extension personnel, and avid amateur gardeners.

Duane W. Green University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts

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