Parasitic flowering plants

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Parasitic flowering plants are strikingly impressive and beautiful and hold many surprises of both general and scientific interest. Parasites also have great influence on the quality of human life when attacking crop plants. Some parasites have since early times appealed to our imagination and have been part of religious or folkloristic events and used as gifts to royalties. This beautifully illustrated book covers all parasitic families and most of the genera. It also discusses the establishment of the parasite, the structure and function of the nutrient absorption organ (haustorium), and how the parasites are pollinated and dispersed as well as their ecology, hosts, and evolution. The book is written in a mostly non-technical language and is provided with a glossary and explanatory boxes.

For additional information about this book, including some sample photographs, please visit the author's web site.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Das vorliegende Buch ist eine reiche Quelle für äußerst spannende Aspekte aus der Welt der Pflanzen. Es ist nicht nur Botanikern, sondern allen naturwissenschaftlich Interessierten sehr zu empfehlen und sollte in keiner botanischen Bibliothek fehlen. Aufgrund der üppigen Ausstattung mit Farbabbildungen auf fast jeder Seite ist der relative hohe Preis absolut gerechtfertigt.
-Hilke Steinecke in Palmengarten 76/1 (2012)

“Heide-Jørgensen’s magnificently vivid Parasitic Flowering Plants [is], indeed, an Inter-National Geographic-style opus on parasitic plants. … [The book] sets a new high standard for works on the natural history of ecological plant groups.” – Rudolph Schmid, Univ. California, in TAXON vol. 59 (4), August 2010, p. 1313

This profusely illustrated book is a worthy successor to Job Kuijt’s seminal Parasitic Flowering Plants, published in 1969 and widely acknowledged as the beginning of modern research on parasitic vascular plants. […]
Going through this book is like seeing a favorite black and white movie in color as so much of the work reviewed here was first published in black and white.... So much information has been garnered and presented in color for the first time. […] I.... am pleased at the accuracy of the color reproduction. Kudos to the publisher for such wonderful color! […]
It should also be in every college or university library as the most up to date treatment of this most intriguing group of plants.

Lytton John Musselman, Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA, in CASTANEA vol. 74 (2009) pp. 89-90.

A particular feature of the book, in my opinion, is the large number of excellent photographs, which illustrate and elaborate on the themes being presented.
Mark Hyde, 27 January 2009,

NEW and recommended by APS PRESS!
This beautifully illustrated book covers all parasitic families and most of the genera. It also discusses the establishment of the parasite, the structure and function of the nutrient absorption organ (haustorium), and how the parasites are pollinated and dispersed as well as their ecology, hosts, and evolution. The book is written in a mostly non-technical language and is provided with a glossary and explanatory boxes.

This is one of those books that you idly pick up, flick through looking at the gorgeous pictures, read snippets of information and before you know it, you've missed the train home. The 400 odd pages cover every familiy of parasitic plant known in the world and most of the genera, organised systematically.
Peter Thomas in Bulletin of the British Ecological Society 39.4 (2008)

"This book finally places parasitic plants in the position they deserve. The book has a phenomenally broad coverage. It literally bursts with information, yet does so in an accessible fashion; the various boxes and the glossary are a real help to the interested amateur. One of the considerable strengths of the book is the emphasis on ecological connections that are explored and illustrated. We learn about insects, birds, and mammals that have significant roles in the lives of parasites. A most important subject is haustorial structure. It is an essential subject - after all, it is the defining part, the essence of parasitism. But here again, the author has produced a remarkably accessible account and he has stradled the line between popular and academic science very successfully."
- Job Kuijt, University of Victoria, Canada.

"I feel that the author's style gives consideration to both professional scientist as well as private plant lovers."
- Hans Christian Weber, Philipps Universität, Marburg, Germany.

“This beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of parasitic plants gives a fantastic overview of the morphological variety of parasitic plants and describes and illustrates the adaptations that enable plants to be parasitic. The illustrations are magnificent and can only make you admire how nature has created such wonderful creatures almost as if it wants to mask their mal-intentions. In addition to the wonderful illustrations the book reviews important aspects of plant parasitism such as the physiological mechanisms, the ecology and the putative evolution of parasitism in plants. Hence, the book is a rich source of facts and need-to-knows about parasitic plants and therefore will be a valuable handbook for scientists and a fine introduction to parasitism in plants for non-scientists.”
-Harro J. Bouwmeester, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004167506
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/19/2008
  • Pages: 442
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Henning S. Heide-Jørgensen, Ph.D. (1978) in plant anatomy and Associate Professor at University of Copenhagen. Guest researcher at University of Victoria (1990-91). Scientific publications in plant anatomy, parasitic plants, carnivorous plants, the plant cuticle, and arctic biology/climate change.
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Table of Contents

Preface by Job Kuijt
Author’s preface
Chapter 1. Introduction. What is a parasitic plant?
Chapter 2. Hemiparasitic Santalales
Chapter 3. Hemiparasitic families other than Santalales
Chapter 4. Holoparasitic families
Chapter 5. Establishment of the parasite
Chapter 6. Host ranges and various ecological aspects of parasitism
Chapter 7. Harmful parasites and control methods
Chapter 8. Ecology and evolution
Selected literature
List of photographers
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