Book List

For this section, I rather feel that I am teaching granny to suck eggs; however, for anybody new to this arena, or for any palm enthusiast who has been away from the planet for awhile, here are a few trusty titles.

George B. Stevenson
Palms of South Florida

University Press Florida. ISBN 0813014417
Although aimed at the palm enthusiasts of Florida this book covers many palms that are common in other areas of the world including Europe and Australia. It is a good beginner's guide that gives ample detail and illustrations to enable the read to identify palms. In fact the bulk of the 250 pages (about 200 in all)provide detailed illustrations and notes on identifying specific palms and their features.
The other pages cover palm botany, palm geography, care, salt tolerance and pests as well as a guide on which palms grow best in the various climatic zones of Florida state.
The book was originally published in 1974 and appears not to have been updated since. Its presentation is somewhat dated now given the old fashion font and lay-out, and, disappointingly, there are no photos at all. This said, the illustrations are good and the content still relevant today. In all, I certainly recommend this book.
(Review by Ed Croft)
This title is available at or


Yoshihiro Okita and J. Leyland Hollemberg
The Miniature Palms of Japan

New Holland Publishers (UK). ISBN 0834801604
Everything you need to know about cultivating and propagating the Miniature Japanese Palm - the perfect houseplant, beautiful, strong, and easy to raise. (Review by Keith Andrew)
Out of print but available at or and National Rhapis Collection


Robert Lee Riffle and Paul Craft
An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

Hardcover, 2003, ISBN 0-88192-558-6
528 pp, 929 color photos, 1 b/w photo, 2 line drawings, 8 1/2 x 11"

Co-written by the author of the award-winning "The Tropical Look", "An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms" offers a definitive account of palms that may be grown in the garden and landscape. Because palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity--even to tropical gardeners--Robert Lee Riffle and Paul Craft have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family. Approximately 890 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. No gardener or landscaper who reads this book should ever again lose a palm solely because of lack of horticultural information.
Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. The volume even contains photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants. As well as all of the tropical and subtropical palms, the encyclopedia includes many species that can withstand freezing; thus it is applicable for areas where average low temperatures do not drop below 5F (-15C).
Many features of the book add to its usefulness for the amateur or professional grower. Extensive landscape lists group together palms with special characteristics, such as drought tolerance, salt tolerance, and slow growth, to name a few. A unique appendix with notes on germinating seed of selected palms will prove invaluable to gardeners and nursery professionals who wish to grow palms from seed. In all, An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms offers a wealth of information to horticulturists at every level of experience.

This title is available at or


Finn Borchsenius, Henrik Borgtoft Pedersen, Henrik Balslev
Manual to the Palms of Ecuador

Department of Systematic Botany University of Aarhus. ISBN 87-87600-53-6
Very good, a real diamond if you are travelling in that part. (Review by Jan Andersson)
This title is available at Aarhus Universitetsforlag


Broschat, T.
Ornamental Palm Horticulture

University Press Florida, 2000. ISBN 0813018048
A relatively new release from the States, it covers palm biology, pests and diseases, landscape, and interior uses. A useful addition to your collection.
This title is available at or


Gibbons, Martin
Palms: the new compact study guide and identifier

1993. ISBN 1555218377
This one will satisfy the anorak' amongst us. Gain points with other vacationers by remarking to innocent bystanders that the palm they are looking at is actually a Johannesteijsmannia altifrons.
This title is available at or


Jones, David L.
Palms Throughout The World

Reed Books, 1995. ISBN 0730104206
This book has everything you ever wanted to know about palms and probably more, and the illustrations from the Botanical Magazine are just exquisite. You cannot possibly be without this one.
This title is available at or


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