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Raven biology of plants, 8th edn
Article in Annals of Botany · May 2014
DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcu090
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Nigel Chaffey
Bath Spa University
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Book Review
doi:10.1093/aob/mcu090
Raven biology of plants, 8th edn.
R.F. Evert and S.E. Eichhorn. 2013.
W.H. Freeman/Palgrave Macmillan.
£56.99 (hardback). pp. 900.
information from that source with material from other texts –
such as Mauseth’s. And you will need to supplement BoP
with other sources. If you want more on the plant physiology
side of things, then you will probably need the likes of specialist
texts such as Taiz and Zeiger (2010). If you are after more of the
molecular biology dimension, then Smith et al. (2010) or Jones
et al. (2013) will help. To delve deeper into the structural –
developmental side of plants, texts like Beck (2010) will be
needed. For more on those all-important plants-and-people
aspects of botany, then invaluable are Levetin and McMahon
(2012) and Mauseth (2013), etc. The point is not that you
don’t need any other text than BoP, because you do!, but BoP
is an excellent starting point for the basics of plant biology.
Simply ‘mix-and-match’ BoP with your favourite, more specialist other texts to get the desired final outcome as suits
your particular audience.
So, in concluison, I don’t think you can beat Raven Biology of
Plants as a great all-round, comprehensive introduction to
botany (oh, alright then! plant biology).
An aside: the above comments refer to the so-called
International Edition – ‘for use outside the USA and
Canada’ – of BoP, 8th edition. I’ve often wondered what
may be different in this edition compared to the USA one,
and scrutinising Amazon’s UK site I think I may have found
the answer. The non-International Edition is shown retailing
at about £120, but a reviewer (http://amzn.to/1jxOoOa) says
that both editions have the same content. So, maybe the
International Edition should be renamed the ‘Austerity’
Edition. In any event, it is nice to know that the Americans
are helping out the cash-strapped botany students of Europe
and non-USA/Canada!
Nigel Chaffey
E-mail: [email protected]
L I T E R AT U R E CI T E D
Beck CB. 2010. An introduction to plant structure and development. Plant
anatomy for the Twenty-first Century. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Jones R, Ougham H, Thomas H, Waaland S. 2013. The molecular life of
plants. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Levetin E, McMahon K. 2012. Plants and Society, 6th edn. New York:
McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Mauseth JD. 2013. Plants and people. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett
Learning.
Mauseth JD. 2014. Botany, 5th edn. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett
Learning.
Smith AM, Coupland G, Dolan L, et al. 2010. Plant biology. New York:
Garland Science.
Taiz L, Zeiger E. 2010. Plant physiology, 5th edn. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer
Associates, Inc., Publishers.
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I first discovered Raven et al.’s
Biology of plants (hereafter referred
to as BoP) in its 6th edition,
published in 1999, when designing a
second-year undergraduate ‘botany’
course. Whether it was because this
was the first book I’d secured as a free ‘Instructor evaluation
copy’ of a textbook (one of the few ‘perks’ of being a university lecturer . . . ), I can’t be sure, but it’s been a constant
companion, and on my recommended reading list for my plant
biology courses (with suitable updating to 2005’s 7th edition),
ever since. Why? Because it was – and still is! – a great,
all-purpose, general plant biology (botany in all but name)
text, which includes abundant coloured diagrams, photos and
photomicrographs, a substantial glossary (26 two-columned
pages), a comprehensive index (64 three-columned pages!),
suggestions of further reading (many of which are dated
post-2005 as befits this ‘most significant revision in its history’)
by chapter, a highly readable – therefore pedagogic? – style,
and covers all the basics, from evolution, taxonomic overview
of Kingdom Plantae (plus bacteria, archaea, viruses, fungi and
algae), ultrastructure, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry,
ecology (although those latter two chapters are now only
available online), and even plant–people relationships (both as
a separate 22-page chapter and as 15 short essays throughout
the book’s approx. 900 pages). Along with the extensive
updating, Peter Raven’s name has disappeared from the listing
of authors. It is not clear to me why this has happened, but this
8th edition is dedicated to the much-lauded gentleman (a Time
magazine ‘Hero for the Planet’; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Peter_H._Raven) and who is now honoured in BoP’s updated
title, Raven Biology of Plants. And BoP retains its distinctive
impressionistic cover – van Gogh’s 1890 ‘Field of Poppies’
this time – which makes it stand out from the other books on
the shelf!
Does such a wonderful book have any competitors? Yes,
there is a big, competitive market for undergraduate textbooks
and plant biology is no exception. However, the textbook
closest in style and coverage to BoP – that I know of – is the
approx. 700-page tome Mauseth’s Botany (2014), now in its
5th edition. I like ‘Mauseth’ (and it’s not just because it’s
entitled botany!), but tend to turn to BoP first and supplement
Annals of Botany 00: i–i
Available online at www.aob.oxfordjournals.org
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