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Pitcher Plants of the Americas -Reviews


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"This is a book accessible to any level botanist/ecologist.... I would be surprised if this book does not stimulate some beginning student to take up either the study of these remarkable plants or the conservation of their habitat. - Michael H. MacRoberts, Book Review in Natural Areas Journal, Volume 29 (2), 2009



"This newest book is most unusual. It treats, for the first time as a group, the pitcher plants of the New World: those in the Sarraceniaceae and Bromeliaceae. Even more extraordinary is that Pitcher Plants of the Americas is written by a broadly educated British geographer who is only in his young 20s. The photographs in Pitcher Plants of the Americas are generally outstanding, and alone worth the price. The pictures of the Guiana Highlands are spectacular, with ecological scenes that are breathtaking. Close-ups of the plants are flawless and beautiful. The book is handsome, well produced, user friendly, and readable. ...Pitcher Plants of the Americas is very worthwhile as a teaching tool and reference text. McPherson is to be congratulated on such a monumental work so early in his career, and I look forward to his future contributions to the field of carnivorous plants. He will definitely become one of the best international experts." - T. Lawrence Mellichamp, Biology Department and Botanical Gardens, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC. Book Review in Rhodora, Vol. 109, No. 940, the Journal of the New England Botanical Club

"McPherson...provides stunning photographs....McPherson actually takes the reader's breath away..., as when he shows an oblique aerial view of the tepui, or table mountain, called Mt. Roraima (pp. 104-105). ...Pitcher Plants of the Americas belong(s) in all college and university libraries. Most botanists would find (the book) useful in their personal libraries.... Buy (it) today." - Douglas Darnowski, Department of Biology, Indiana University Southeast for Plant Science Bulletin 53(4), 2007


"... Provides a terrific and concise overview of carnivorous plant groups of [North, Central, and South America]. Organized by genus, each species receives a brief descriptive treatment and range map, and subspecies descriptions are included. Beautiful full-color photos throughout. Includes discussion of habitat loss and threats of extinction." - Bianca Lech, Book Review Editor, Northeastern Naturalist, Book Reviews, 2007


"If National Geographic magazine were to publish a book on pitcher plants, it might resemble this one, which has excellent color photographs and line drawings, and a straightforward text. The book is a bargain for its illustrations and the wealth of information it contains, a 'must have' for any entomologist who needs to identify them or work with the insects associated with them." - J.H. Frank, Entomology & Nematology Dept., University of Florida, Gainesville, Book Review, 2007


"This book is comprehensive enough to be useful to the researcher but the hobbyist will also find it readable and accessible. McPerson's love of these plants and his personal experience in the field imbue the presentation. The photography, often full page photos and even spread over two pages, is breathtaking. McPherson began writing Pitcher Plants of the Americas at the age of 16, hoping to finish it before turning 22. He succeeded. The proceeds of this and subsequent books he has dedicated to protect the natural habitat." (www.redfernnaturalhistory.com-/conservation.htm.) - Penrith Goff, Reviews, The Southeast Michigan Bromeliad Society


"...many excellent works have appeared on this topic [insectivorous plants]. McPherson continues with a fine treatment of the 5 genera and 27 species (plus many infra-specific taxa, cultivars, and hybrids) of pitfall or pitcher plants of the New World. Illustration is superb and copious: 245 B&W diagrams and mostly color photos and maps. Amazingly, the 25-year-old author packed six years of travel and research into a substantial and up-to-date monograph..." - Rudolf Schmid, UC, Taxon, May 2007


"Stewart McPherson loves carnivorous plants, and it shows! His quest is to write a set of five books that will treat all the carnivorous plants. ...his first book in the series is a pleasure to read. The book is factually strong yet engaging. I value high quality photography, and McPherson's work is really fine. ... his close-up work is good, but he also has a superb eye for composition and his landscape photography is truly poster-worthy.

How does McPherson's book compare with other works? McPherson's book is not as thick on the science side [compared to Don Schnell's "Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada"] ... however, it has an obviously different taxonomic scope and overall better photography. McPherson measures up well, even against a high standard. Buy this book if you can at all afford it, otherwise I guarantee that some day, when it eventually goes out of print, you will be kicking yourself." - Dr. Barry Rice, International Carnivorous Plant Society book review, June 2007


"A first-rate [book] and welcome contribution to natural history reference shelves, sure to fascinate both general readers and horticulture specialists." - The Midwest Book Review-Small Press Bookwatch, May 2007


"This is an exceptionally attractive book. ... this book will be an essential resource for anyone interested in pitcher plants." - Bob Linn, book reviewer for the Georgia Botanical Society's newsletter, BotSoc News, May 2007 edition


"Pitcher Plants of the Americas...is an incredibly in depth look at these fascinating plants. ...offers a complete and comprehensive overview of the five genera of pitcher plants found in the Americas. This reference guide is clear, concise and very fascinating. Pitcher Plants of the Americas...is a fantastic effort and an incredible insight into an amazing plant. It is a must-read for any natural history buff." - Ecobeetle, April 27, 2007


"Pitcher Plants of the Americas is certainly a book worth acquiring... Both general readers and those who require specialist information will find this book easy to comprehend whilst containing a wealth of accurate botanical information." - Jan Townsend, Newsletter Editor, The Hunter District Bromeliad Society-New South Wales Australia


"Carnivorous plant books don't get any better than this..." - Willam Sherren, fly-catchers.co.uk - the home of carnivorous plants (www.homepage.ntlworld.com/wb.sherren/cpmain.htm)


"Mr. McPherson's style of writing is both informative and interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in native plants. Stewart McPherson does a wonderful job of giving us in depth insight into the little known world of our American Pitcher Plants." -Yvonne Bordelon, President and Editor, Folsom Native Plant Society, Folsom, LA


"This book is a masterpiece and will without a doubt be a wonderful reference for years to come. ...the Heliamphora photos are unquestionably the best photos published to date. With so many new species of Heliamphora discovered in the past 10 years, it is nice to finally see such a complete overview of a normally overlooked genus. ...The letter from Jim Miller almost brought tears to my eyes talking about the rate of habitat loss of Sarracenia in the USA. ...since over 97% of [natural habitat] has already been destroyed....it is wonderful to know that a portion of the book's sales is going directly to help protect these wonderful plants. This book will without a doubt be a wonderful addition to any carnivorous plant lover's library." - Jeremiah Harris, book reviewer for Colorado Carnivorous Plant Society


"British geographer and author Stewart McPherson focuses on a group of plants that have fascinated people because, unlike most plants, they are carnivorous. Included... are brocchinia and catopsis--both in the family Bromeliaceae. He devotes two chapters, one for each of the genera, which are highly informative, discussing habitat, the biology of insect and animal eating plants, and the ecology of the various species. The text is very readable, and while the entire book would be of interest to the botanically savvy, it is also designed for the general reader. One of the excellent features of this book is the...color plates...and black and white illustrations; some of the images are the first ones ever published of those species in habitat. The glossary and bibliography are quite extensive and useful. The two final chapters on habitat loss and techniques of cultivation are also very informative. Profits from [this and four other books] will go towards research and permanent habitat protection. It is indeed refreshing to see a project that is not only designed to raise awareness and to educate, but also to do something proactive to ameliorate the environmental crisis that we have created." - Robert W. Kopfstein, Publications Chair, Bromeliad Society International (The entire review will be included in a forthcoming edition of the Bromeliad Society International Journal.)


"It is an unusual writer that has been able to travel to the oftentimes remote areas that these specialized plants grow in. Furthermore, it is rare for someone to have the writing ability to produce a book suitable for everyone from the hobbyist gardener to the horticulturist to the botanist. Stewart McPherson has shown his ability to accomplish this difficult task. ...I am completely awed that such a young man is already writing books that will be read over and over again by those who love carnivorous plants. If you have an interest in these plants, or grow them as a hobby, or produce them for the mass-market, you need this book. I believe that everyone acquiring this book will treasure it for many years into the future." - Diana Pederson, BellaOnline's Christian Literature Editor; www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48971.asp; January 30, 2007


"The chapters on the Sarraceniaceae are interesting and comprehensible even to a complete novice. The photographs, mostly in habitat, are stunning. Line drawings and maps complete your education. The section on Brocchinia and Catopsis is very well written. ...Given a technical topic, this book kindly educates the reader with non-technical verbiage." - Moyna Prince, Co-Editor, BromeliAdvisory, February 2007 (The Bromeliad Society of South Florida)


"...I am thrilled to find considerable information about three rarely cultivated and little-known bromeliads in Pitcher Plants of the Americas.... While this book mainly discusses conventionally recognized pitcher plants, Mr. McPherson makes his case that three bromeliads, by virtue of their physical structures and their abilities to lure and trap insects, deserve consideration and inclusion in discussions of carnivorous plants. This book is written in layman's terms and is easily accessible in the way its information is presented. Regardless of whether your interest is in bromeliads or in pitcher plants, the photographs in this book are wonderful. Maps of the ranges of these bromeliads as well as botanical drawings of their anatomical structures are also included. The photographs illustrate the discussion of habitat so that you can see and understand exactly the communities and growing conditions of these bromeliads. ...Pitcher Plants of the Americas offers enough concise information, habitat pictures and descriptions about the three species to make it a book to include in any serious bromeliad library." - Karen Andreas, newsletter for the February 2007 edition of the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies and Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies website's Book Review Section (fcbs.org)


"The bromeliad “connection” for this book is the description and analysis of the only recognized carnivorous bromeliads, namely, Brocchinia reducta, B. hechtioides and Catopsis beteroniana. For these plants, there is a description of: the plant’s structure, the process by which insects are trapped, their distribution, habitats, general ecology and botanical description. The text for these plants is profusely illustrated with over 20 high quality photographs of the plants and their habitats, as well as line drawings. The treatment of these plants is the most comprehensive I have seen in any bromeliad book."

"The same comprehensive treatment extends to the other “pitcher” plants covered in the book. The other genera covered are: Darlingtonia, Heliamphora, and Sarracenia. Overall, the author succeeds in the task he set himself, namely: “…(the book) is a substantive summary of the content, biology, ecology, distribution and conservation status of the five genera that incorporate the American pitcher plants, and an exploration of the spectacular diversity that exists within this group…” (p.6)" - Bob Reilly, Bromeliad Society of Queensland, Australia


"This is an absolutely beautiful book, crammed full of exquisite color images reproduced with excellent resolution. All you have to do is let it fall open in your hands and you'll say, "I want it!" -- David Wagner, Ph.D., Emerald Chapter, "Kalmiopsis", Volume 14, 2007


"The book's greatest strength is its excellent photography and its coverage of Heliamphora (carnivorous pitcher plants from South America) and two genera of carnivorous tank bromeliads: Brocchina from South America and Catopsis from South, Central, and North America. McPherson's detailed attention to these lesser known genera is a welcome addition to the literature. McPherson's coverage of our North American pitcher plan genera (Sarracenia and Darligtonia) is comparable to that of Donald Schnell's book Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada. A great strenth of McPherson's book is his discussion of habitat loss and the threat of extenction to each genera, particularly to some species of Sarracenia in the southeastern United States.... McPherson points out that interested growers should only buy nursery-propagated plants from reliable sources, and provides some of these sources for the reader. He also states that proceeds from the sale of his book will go toward conservation efforts." -- Susan Farrington, "The Harbinger", Volume 2, 2007