Book Review

Author:
Donglin Zhang Department of Horticulture University of Georgia, Athens

Search for other papers by Donglin Zhang in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close

A Checklist of Ex Situ Cultivated Flora of China. Hongwen Huang. 2014. Science Press, Beijing. 663 pages. List price $32.00 (RMB¥ 198.00), Softcover. ISBN: 978-7-03-037342-7.

Many publications have documented the rich flora of China and their introduction into cultivation. Western plant hunters have explored remote mountains in China and brought excellent agricultural and horticultural plants to the USA and to European countries. When my fellow plant explorers and I were surrounded by native tulips in the alpine regions of NW China in summer, we became yet more acutely aware of the impact of the Chinese native flora on western gardens. Recently, Mr. Andrew Bunting, Mr. Daniel Hinkley, Mr. Ozzie Johnson, Mr. Scott McMahan, and I observed and documented plants with high ornamental potential in Shennongjia (western Hubei), where we were reminded of the staggering richness and diversity of plants within the political geographical borders of China.

A new publication, A Checklist of Ex Situ Cultivated Flora of China by Hongwen Huang has helped to validate our suspicions; many plant taxa are cultivated within Chinese botanical institutions and are seen rarely if ever in situ. Last autumn, we were dumbstruck by the native taxa cultivated in Wuhan Botanical Garden (WHIOB). The Mahonia collection alone at the Guangxi Institute of Botany (GXIB) is substantial enough to rewrite our perceptions of the genus entirely.

China has the richest flora in the North Temperate zone, with 33,000 species of higher plants. A Checklist of Ex Situ Cultivated Flora of China records 15,812 taxa (including 181 subspecies, 932 varieties, and 68 forms), which belong 312 families and 3,181 genera from 12 main botanical gardens in China. The taxonomic treatment is in alphabetical order by families under Pteridophyta (59 families, 168 genera, and 835 taxa), Gymnospermae (12, 53, 299), and Angiospermae (241, 2960, 14,678). Under each family, the genera, as well as the subsequent species, were listed alphabetically too. Indexes of genus Latin and Chinese names provide easy access to locate a plant. Under each taxon, Chinese name and cultivated gardens (with acronyms) are listed.

Based on geographical locations and floristic regions, Dr. Hongwen Hong and his committee carefully selected 12 main botanical gardens, which cover south, southwest, central, north, east, and northeast China. The acronym SCBG is South China Botanical Garden; XTBG: Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden; IBCAS: Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); WHIOB: Wuhan Botanical Garden; KIB: Kunming Botanical Garden; XJB: Xinjiang Institute of Geography and Ecology; LSBG: Lushan Botanical Garden; CNBG: Nanjing Botanical Garden Memorial Sun Yat-Sen; SZBG: Shenzhen Fairy Lake Botanical Garden; GXIB: Guangxi Institute of Botany; IAE: Institute of Applied Ecology, CAS; and XMBG: Xiamen Botanical Garden. If you want to make quick reference of these acronyms in the book, please do make a copy of this paragraph as your book marker.

Completion of A Checklist of Ex Situ Cultivated Flora of China is the beginning of Ex Situ Cultivated Flora of China, which will consist of 80 volumes. All taxa listed in “the checklist” will be described in “the flora” with their performance in cultivation, biological characteristics, phonological data in different gardens, propagation, production, management, and utilization, especially detailed observation data from each garden. These living specimens should provide an invaluable resource for basic and applied research and support the development of plant-allied industries.

A Checklist of Ex Situ Cultivated Flora of China is the key to opening the floral world of this country. If you are interested in Chinese plants, a copy of this treatise belongs in your library.

Donglin Zhang Department of Horticulture University of Georgia, Athens

Search for other papers by Donglin Zhang in
Google Scholar
Close
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 94 76 5
PDF Downloads 43 12 0

 

Advertisement
Longwood Gardens Fellows Program 2024

 

Advertisement
Save