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Succulents: The Illustrated Dictionary Paperback – Illustrated, January 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881923982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881923988
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This illustrated dictionary of succulents, excluding cacti, covers species from 35 plant families and 195 genera worldwide in distribution. Alphabetically arranged species entries include a brief description and place of origin. This work by Sajeva (Univ. of Palermo, Italy) and Constanzo, both active members in the Italian Cactus and Succulent Society, is unique in its use of 1200 high-quality color 31/8" x 21/8" photographs arranged six to a page to accompany each entry. Although up-to-date and better illustrated than other botanical dictionaries that include succulents, this specialized work is for libraries with comprehensive botanical and horticultural collections.
Teresa Elberson, Lafayette P.L., La.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Succulents are plants that are able to withstand drought because of their ability to store water. This book is essentially a catalog illustrating varieties from 195 genera. Designed as an identification tool, it should fill the needs of growers and collectors.

The core of the work is the "Illustrated A-Z of Species," which consists of 1,200 sharp, close-up color photographs. Six two-by-three-inch photos per page enable accurate identification and easy searching. The photo captions include descriptions of growth and flowering habits, size, place of origin, alternate name, and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) status.

A brief overview of succulent families and genera opens the work. Appendixes include a bibliography, CITES codes, and the code of conduct for the International Organization for Succulent Plants Study. The checklist of alternate plant names does not include popular names. The elephant foot palm/ponytail palm will need to be located by browsing the photos, as will jade trees and living rocks. Also not included are lists of societies, journals, or suppliers. Succulents is descriptive only; it does not provide growing information. As an identification tool, it is superb. For collectors who have encountered dealer's lists that consist primarily of species and varietal names, this catalog will be invaluable in making selections. The collector can leaf through, for example, lithops (16 species), aloe (25 species), or crassula (14 species).

There is no comparable work. The Wonderful World of Succulents by Werner Rauh (Smithsonian, 1984, o.p.) describes many species, but most are not pictured. Gordon Rowley's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Succulents (Crown, 1978, o.p) has fine photographs but does not approach this illustrated dictionary in scope.

Succulents are a widely collected, diverse group of plants. The appearance of this work will be welcomed by houseplant gardeners and succulent specialists. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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You got to start somewhere if you think you want to learn about succulents you might want to grow.
Dr. Peter Brown
As the title says it is an illustrated dictionary, so no growing tips, but a great pictorial succulent reference nonetheless.
Curtis Gomez
It would be more helpful if the common names for the plants were given instead of just the scientific names.
A. Holley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By gamekat on June 15, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a beginner with succulent plants and rock gardening. This is a very pretty book with information & photos for identifying plants. I find the pictures a bit small (about 2"x3.25"). For me, differentiating some of the Sempervivum species (or Jovibarba) would be difficult with the description and photos provided (someone more expert may find the descriptions quite sufficient).
I really NEED more information on habitat and cultivation. For me, sun exposure, soil & water requirements, pest problems and such are what I want right now. Also of interest, how variation in sun exposure and water will effect color & habit, cold and heat tolerance, winter protection. Once again, for a more experienced gardener, or someone wanting to move into more exotic succulents (I am working with Sedum, and "hens & chicks" (common name)) this may rate five stars.
I did learn that what I know as "hens & chicks" could be Sempervivum, Jovibarba, or Graptopetalum. This is an example of why it would be nice to have a common name cross reference, as mentioned by another reviewer.
Initially, I thought I would return the book, but have decided to keep it. I have learned about some species that I would like to grow, if I can get information on their culture & habit. This reference will allow me to get new species to experiment with. (This may mean special orders, as local nurseries have limited supplies of common plants.) So far, the Crassulaceae family is where my interest lies - See, I have learned something of value!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David La Jess on December 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
You will never confuse a succulent from another cactus or in any matter from another succulent.This illustrated dictionary is for the succulent collector who has his or her own collection and is willing to take that extra step into the knowledge of succulents. This isn't a step to step guide on how to care for succulents however a reference guide foe identification and characteristics of the hundreds and hundreds od succulents in the world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. great coffee table book with excellent photos and top notch quality I look at it everyday to refresh my memory and to discover new succulents some very strange to normal day to day succulents you can see in gardens both public and private. A wonderful and necessary reference tool.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Connor on July 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Succulents: The Illustrated Dictionary", is the original work of these two partner authors. This concise original offers hundreds of succulents, beautiful and strange, in scientific names. The photographs are as beautiful as "Cacti: The Illustrated Dictionary", but more close up. However, for this guide to be complete, the sequel also needs to be bought along with the original. "Succulents 2" is almost identical to the original in photo and binding quality, which are fine. However, you may as well be purchasing half a book if you only buy one of the series. Both are needed for completion.
The content is rich, featuring different succulent families, such as the poisonous "Euphorbia" genus. (I am still waiting to purchase the sequel to find more interesting families.) When you have these, there is not a chance that you will misidentify differing species.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Chippindale on August 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
This books is essentially a photographic encyclopaedia of succulent plants and while it covers an great number of genera and species it would be impossible to cover them all in one volume, hence a second one has been published.

It is excellent for finding that name of that plant you have had in your collection for a long time and have never been able to put a name to. The book gives the genus, species and habitat of the plant. Also some indication of the size the plant may attain and also flower colour.

Of its type it is as good as anything on the market and if you can afford both volumes covers most of the plants available to collectors.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Thurbon on September 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for those who wish to identify their plants or find out what those plants in a catalogue look like. It is also useful for finding out which is the plant that interests you before you buy. An excellent book all round but some of the pictures, particularly those of the caudiciforms, are of very small seedlings and I have larger plants in my own collection. Obviously the authors ordered some seedling plants from a nursery and then photographed them. Many of the pictures also show only the top of the plant and not its base or the pot it is growing in which can be a bit annoying for those small caudiciform plants. Otherwise I cannot complain and this book is amoung the most valuable in my collection. It has top quality pictures of the mesembryanthemums and many other plants so this makes up for the bad pictures. The authors have fixed the problems with this book in their new book "Succulents II, The New Illustrated Dictionary". Makes a great complement to the Preston-Mafham book on Cacti.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book would be an excellent addition to any succulent lover's library. The photographs are outstanding, and do not focus so much on the flowers of a species as others in the genre do. It is so much easier to identify that unknown plant when you have a picture of the entire plant to go by. The only negative is that "common" names for plants were not given. I would've appreciated that. I also would've liked a "care & cultivation" (general) section for each type of succulent (or wish the authors would write such a book).
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