The family of palms is of major economic importance, both on a large industrial scale and in peasant agriculture. Palms are valuable in horticulture because of their striking and distinctive habit. Research of the past 30 years on the anatomy and morphology of palms is summarized in this book with a strong emphasis on functional morphology and development. The palms offer a unique challenge to botanists because of their frequently gigantic size and unusual mechanical properties. They are of interest to evolutionists who wish to know how such an unusual plant form could have evolved and to ecologists who may wish to learn about the distinct adaptive features of palms. In this book each organ of the plant and each successive phase in its life-cycle is examined, beginning with seed germination and gradually moving through the vegetative cycle to the production of inflorescence, flower, fruit and seed, giving so far as our present understanding permits, a general picture of how the palm "works". The information is presented throughout in a systematic form.
Much of the recent extensive literature on palm biology is summarized and the relationship of the palms to other flowering plants is discussed. This book will be of value both to academic biologists and to tropical agronomists.
`The Structural Biology of Palms is a most important addition to the literature on palms. This is one of the best introductions to the biology of the palms and this being so, will represent a fine student text.'