5 Palms

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An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms 

 By Robert Lee Riffle and Paul Craft                                                                                       

Timber Press                                                                                                                                 

528 pages              

In my opinion, this is the premiere book on tropical palms – at least as can presently be found in my library!  Well written by two of the foremost authorities, it has comprehensive data, in a readable, understandable form, with great supporting photographs.  The second edition – I have the first – includes writing by Scott Zona.  It is outstanding – no more need be said!  (Available through Amazon Books – 5 palms)

Heliconia (An Identification Guide)

By Fred Berry and W. John Kress                                                                                                           

Smithsonian Institution Press                                                                                                                              

334 pages

As far as I can tell there simply is no better publication on Heliconia than this one.  If you have such plants and wish to identify them then this is definitely the book for you.  (Available through Amazon Books – 5 palms)  

Palms and Cycads of the World, (A guide to)                                                                           

By Lynette Stewart                                                                                                                                         

Angus and Robertson                                                                                                                   

246 pages

Inside and out, this is one of the best looking and more useful books available today.  From the pictured Lipstick Palms on the cover through plant specifics to the final discussion of “Pests and Diseases of Palms and Cycads” she has done a masterful job of employing brevity with sound, usable information.  I highly recommend this one.  (Available through Amazon Books – 5 palms)

Palms, (Timber Press Pocket Guide To)

By Robert Lee Riffle

Timber Press

237 pages

Now we’re back to “The Man” – Robert Lee Riffle. How very much this professional knew! This small pocket guide handbook is packed with good, helpful, highly useful information (though small in typeface) and one that’s small enough to be taken with you when out and about. Though not large, it covers 200 species and includes 323 photographs. This is a good one. (Available through Amazon Books – 5 palms)

The Tropical Look, (An Encyclopedia of Dramatic Landscape Plants)

By Robert Lee Riffle

Timber Press

428 pages

Again the Master! This was my first large, comprehensive book and one to which I still regularly turn. It – like virtually all of Riffle’s work – is a good one to have if one is serious about learning about tropical plants. Consider it highly recommended. (Available through Amazon Books – 5 palms)

Tropical Flowering Plants, (A Guide to Identification and Cultivation)

By Kirsten Albrecht Llamas

Timber Press

423 pages

This is one deserving a fanfare! The pictures lay out and copy are just perfect. It is an award winning book of consequence and one that deserves to sit by any of Riffle’s work on your shelf as a solid reference resource. (Available through Amazon Books – 5 palms)

Tropical Ornamentals, (A guide)

By W. Arthur Whistler

Timber Press

542 pages

Second only to Riffle, I am a fan of Whistler. He knows his stuff and presents it well. This is another of a core few that I always look into when writing my column “Planting Roots in Mexico”. I know I can trust his facts and information and recommend this one most highly. (Available through Amazon Books – 5 palms)