Parasitic flowering plants are strikingly impressive and beautiful and hold many surprises of both general and scientific interest. Parasites also have great influence on the quality of human life when attacking crop plants. Some parasites have since early times appealed to our imagination and have been part of religious or folkloristic events and used as gifts to royalties. This beautifully illustrated book covers all parasitic families and most of the genera. It also discusses the establishment of the parasite, the structure and function of the nutrient absorption organ (haustorium), and how the parasites are pollinated and dispersed as well as their ecology, hosts, and evolution. The book is written in a mostly non-technical language and is provided with a glossary and explanatory boxes.
"This book finally places parasitic plants in the position they deserve. The book has a phenomenally broad coverage. It literally bursts with information, yet does so in an accessible fashion; the various boxes and the glossary are a real help to the interested amateur. One of the considerable strengths of the book is the emphasis on ecological connections that are explored and illustrated. We learn about insects, birds, and mammals that have significant roles in the lives of parasites. A most important subject is haustorial structure. It is an essential subject - after all, it is the defining part, the essence of parasitism. But here again, the author has produced a remarkably accessible account and he has stradled the line between popular and academic science very successfully." -- Job Kuijt, University of Victoria, Canada "I feel that the author's style gives consideration to both professional scientist as well as private plant lovers." -- Hans Christian Weber, Philipps Universität, Marburg, Germany“This beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of parasitic plants gives a fantastic overview of the morphological variety of parasitic plants and describes and illustrates the adaptations that enable plants to be parasitic. The illustrations are magnificent and can only make you admire how nature has created such wonderful creatures almost as if it wants to mask their mal-intentions. In addition to the wonderful illustrations the book reviews important aspects of plant parasitism such as the physiological mechanisms, the ecology and the putative evolution of parasitism in plants. Hence, the book is a rich source of facts and need-to-knows about parasitic plants and therefore will be a valuable handbook for scientists and a fine introduction to parasitism in plants for non-scientists.” -- Harro J. Bouwmeester, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands
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