Fully revised and updated Third Edition
By Ian Brooker and David Kleinig
( Bloomings Books, 2016, Hardback, 562 pages, $129rrp)
The Eucalypts are the epitome of the Australian landscape, expressing in its one genus its essence and distinctiveness. — Sir Otto Frankel
This series is widely regarded throughout the world as the benchmark in publishing of field guides for the truly remarkable Eucalyptus genus. The combined talents of Ian Brooker and David Kleinig provide us with such a veritable wealth of information that helps us identify and understand better this very complex genus of over 1000 species.
One sad note is that Ian Brooker died on 25th June 2016 and so he did not have the enjoyment of seeing the third edition of this Volume.
This volume covers eucalypts that occur in the southern part of Western Australia below 26° latitude, all of South Australia and New South Wales north and west of the Darling River. In this large region there is a range of exquisite flowering ornamental species as well as the mighty karri of the timber industry, E. diversicolor and many other species including those with shimmering chestnut bark such as E. salubris and its stunning relatives.
This ‘Volume 2’ accompanied a group of Australian plant enthusiasts and me on a recent trip to Western Australia that covered a large area of the magnificent Great Western Woodlands in which eucalypts are the dominant trees. This book was very helpful for identifying closely related species, of which there many.
Important identification features are emphasized in bold font in the informative text. The text covers a general description followed by detailed information on features such as juvenile and mature leaves, number of flowerbuds per cluster and stalks (peduncles) plus fruits (arrangement, shape and size). The usually excellent multiple colour images for each species depict growth habit, bark, buds and fruit. For eucalypts it is the buds and fruit that are usually the crux in the identifying process.
It would be marvelous to have additional information on habitat and soil types where each species occurs as this can be of assistance to separate species but space to include such information is often limited. However it is worth considering such information for future volumes.
This excellent volume is indeed a wonderful memorial to the brilliance and dedication of an outstanding ‘eucalyptologist’ in Ian Brooker. It is a ‘must have’ for anybody who has a professional or amateur interest in such an amazing and fascinating plant genus.
– Rodger Elliot