This section is devoted to books about conifers. I have divided it into two
sections: books I believe to be out of print and books I believe to still be
available from publishers.
This section is devoted to books about conifers. I have divided it into two sections: books I believe to be out of print and books I believe to still be available from publishers.
Books I believe to be out of print
Atlas of United States Trees Volume 1. Conifers and Important Hardwoods by Elbert Little, Jr.
Department of Agriculture
Publication # 1146
This large book is made up of large scale range maps for all of the American native species of the trees mentioned in the title. All maps are shown to county scale providing great detail. Volume 2 covers Alaska while Volume 3 covers minor western hardwoods.
The Book of Evergreens by Josiah Hoopes
& Company, New York
I value this book for several reasons. One of the foremost is that it was the first book on conifers and their cultivars written by an American author. It is basically a descriptive listing of conifer species and their known cultivars with brief descriptions. It also has practical information on the care and cultivation of conifers during this time period.
Conifers by Alan Mitchell
A book written by one of Englandís foremost authorities on conifers and a lifelong employee of the Forestry Commission and big tree measurer. Alan writes about conifer species in an interesting manner and offers many new aspects on their characteristics and identification. I have several of Alanís books and enjoy them all. He was the first friend I made in England, and I miss seeing him whenever I return to visit Farnham.
Conifers by David Carr
This second in a series of gardenerís handbooks is a thorough treatment of the conifers. It is arranged according to species with scale drawings showing many cultivars and species at listed ages. There are charts of dimensions at given ages as well as seasons of interest and the best features for each season. This book takes a very unique and helpful approach to presenting conifers to the homeowner. The cultivars described are the ones more generally available in the trade in England.
Conifers by Keith Rushforth
New York & Oxford
This book is mainly a text about conifer species and a sampling of their cultivars with very detailed descriptions of the species. The beginning of the text gives background information on horticultural uses of conifers, their care, propagation, and planting.
Conifers and Heather for a Year-round Garden by Adrian Bloom
Adrian Bloom is a well known conifer enthusiast and author who has written several excellent books on conifers and heathers. This particular book is a helpful primer on how, where, and why to use conifers in the landscape and integrate heathers as companion plants. Bloomís own garden at Foggy Bottom shows that he is writing from experience.
Conifers for Your Garden by Adrian Bloom
The book begins with general background information on the origins and uses of conifer cultivars. Then the heart of the book is color photographs of conifers similar to the work of Harrison and van Hoey Smith but with detailed descriptions.
Conifers in Britain by B. Alwyn Jay
Charles Black, London
This particular text book is an illustrated guide to the identification of conifer species with 136 b&w photographs showing extremely close detail of the buds, leaves, and leaf scars. The close up pictures are very striking.
Conifers in Cultivation
Horticultural Society, London
This report on the RHS International Conifer Conference of 1932 has a wealth of information about the worldwide status of conifers in horticulture at this time. The large section on conifers grown at the Highland Park, Rochester, NY by Arthur D. Slavin gives an excellent historical background on many of the older American cultivars.
Conifers in the British Isles by Alan Mitchell
Commission Booklet #33
There are 43 genera, 270 species, and 217 cultivars described in this book along with a mention of 526 arboreta visited by Mitchell along with 203 line drawings and 24 full page photographs of species. This book is very readable and includes big tree data on many of the species described in the book.
Conifers in the British Isles by The Royal Horticultural Society
This book is a collection of the proceedings of the third Conifer Conference arranged by the RHS and held in London during October, 1970. There are papers presented by many of the European conifer authorities of the time. There is much interesting information, but it is oriented to the British Isles.
The Cultivated Conifers edited by Liberty Hyde Bailey
Macmillan Company, New York
This particular book is an update of the 1923 edition of The Cultivated Evergreens with a deletion of the broadleaved evergreens that were included in the older edition. New information was added throughout the text.
The Cultivated Evergreens edited by Liberty Hyde Bailey
Macmillan Company, New York
This book is a compilation of articles by many well known authors of this time period. A substantial part of the book is devoted to an article written by Alfred Rehder of the Arnold Arboretum about conifer cultivars. An interesting text, it was reprinted several times during the 1920ís.
The Cultivated Hemlocks by John Swartley
John Swartley wrote a Masterís Thesis in 1939 that formed the foundation for this comprehensive text on Canadian hemlocks. The cultivars of Tsuga canadensis are given a thorough coverage throughout this text. Many old b&w photographs of mature specimens are also found throughout the book. I came to know John and Elizabeth, his wife, fairly well in his last years when Parkinsonís was slowing him down physically but not mentally. He had to rewrite his whole manuscript when another publisher refused to neither publish his work nor release it to Timber Press. Fortunately he got to see this work in print and even autographed a couple of copies for me.
Dwarf and Slow-growing Conifers by Murray Hornibrook (2nd edition)
Country Life Limited
For many years this book was the conifer loverís main resource. It has descriptions of many of the old conifer cultivars, some of which are listed here for the first time. Much of the information is a compilation of earlier authorsí works with verification of many descriptions by Hornibrook himself. Highland Park in Rochester, NY and the Arnold Arboretum are the two North American locations that add new world representatives to a book that is oriented to England and northern Europe.
The Evergreens by James H. Beale
Garden City, New York
This text is basically intended for the homeowner wanting to landscape his property. It has basic information on how to use evergreens in the home landscape and then sections on conifers, broadleaved evergreen shrubs, and heather with descriptions of the cultivars listed.
The Friendly Evergreens by L. L. Kumlien
This book is basically an update of the 1939 Hillís Book of Evergreens.
The Genus Pinus by George Russell Shaw
This interesting book explains the biology of pines as it was then understood. The the author describes the known pine species with line drawings of some mature specimens, cones, seed, leaf (needle) clusters, cross sections of leaves, and even magnified cells of the lower layer of a leaf.
A Giant Among the Dwarfs by Peter del Tredici
This book has some interesting pictures and points out that a weeping hemlock known as the Horton may be an unknown sibling to the four original Sargent weeping hemlocks. Otherwise this is a book written from extensive research and filled with conjecture that can be interpreted a number of different ways. It makes good reading but must be used carefully if ever quoted as a source.
Gordonís Pinetum: A Synopsis of all of the Known Coniferous Plants by George Gordon
1875 2nd edition
484pp of text
This book has considerable information on species and cultivars of conifers. However, I found the last 100 pages to be even more interesting since they consisted of complete 1875 catalogs from Anthony Waterer, Knaphill Nursery, Lawsonís Nursery, and three others.
A Handbook of Coniferae including Ginkgoaceae by Dallimore and Jackson
Arnold Publishers Ltd., London
3rd edition 1954 printing
1st edition 1923 in my collection is not pictured here
This particular text on conifers was sought after by everyone interested in conifers throughout the time of its three editions until the publication of den Ouden and Boomís conifer book in 1965. It does a good job of summarizing all of the conifer cultivar information known through 1950. Excellent line drawings and a few interesting photographs made this a useful text for anyone interested in the species or cultivars of this plant group.
Handbook on Conifers
Both are Brooklyn Botanic Handbooks
These are long out of print but still contain useful information done by a premier selection of authors. For example, the Handbook on Conifers has sections on conifer pests, notes and buying information on 150 different conifers, and the best 10 conifers for each region of the United States. Dwarf Conifers not only defines the term but also describes 300 different cultivars and has articles by Bergman, Fordham, and Swartley.
Hardy Coniferous Trees by A.D. Webster
Not as exhaustive as other books in my collection, this book presents another point of view toward the older conifer cultivars as well as a different slant on conifer care and maintenance.
Hillís Book of Evergreens by L. L. Kumlien
This book is a complete primer on conifers and their uses in the landscape. It was intended to help popularize conifers among the general public, creating a demand for the nurseryís products. Most of the information on planting, care, landscape techniques, transplanting, and winter care is still valid.
Illustrations of Conifers by H. Clinton-Baker
Vol. 1, 2 1909
Vol. 3 1913
Vol. 4 1935 supplement
A limited number of these books were printed by the author and are very hard to find. Life size photographs of a conifer branch to show foliage and cones is printed opposite a description of the species often with reference to a specimen in the authorís own pinetum at Bayfordbury, Hertford. These volumes were intended to provide photographic identification of the various conifers planted throughout England at the time. Volume 4 was prepared by A. Bruce Jackson after the death of his close friend, H. Clinton-Baker (1935), who had provided the necessary finances for its publication.
Japanese Five-Needle Pine by William Valavanis
This book is little bigger than a pamphlet but is a valuable part of my book collection since it carries detailed information about the cultivars of Pinus parviflora as well as how to work with them in bonsai.
Manual of Cultivated Conifers by den Ouden and Boom
This book has always had a special place on my reference shelf. I still use it extensively for the older cultivars. It has great descriptions and lots of black and white photographs. I doubt that this classic text will ever outlive its usefulness. An update of this book by Humphrey Welch was started with the intention of producing two volumes. Only volume one has been completed and the price is so outrageous that few copies have been sold. Welch refused to complete volume two.
Manual of Dwarf Conifers by Humphrey Welch
This text has proven to be an excellent supplement to den Ouden and Boom with descriptions of many American cultivars through the late seventies. There are just a few b&w photographs in the back of the book and over 100 pages of foliage close ups that are also b&w and of little true value. The heart of the book is the comprehensive list of dwarf and compact cultivars with exhaustive descriptions and histories.
A Manual of the Coniferae by James Veitch & Sons,
This book was intended to supply the demand for practical information on conifers. The goal was to popularize conifers with the general public throughout England. The species and cultivars known at this time are discussed in non technical terms as to descriptions and uses in the garden. It was actually a good marketing technique that produced something of historical significance.
A Manual of the Coniferae by Adolphus H. Kent
& Sons, Ltd., Royal Exotic Nursery, Chelsea, England
This book was a greatly expanded and updated version of the 1881 edition by an author who had some association with the famous Veitch Nursery.
A Monograph of Genus Abies by Tang-Shui Liu
College of Agriculture
National Taiwan University
This book is difficult to find but well worth the search for anyone doing research on firs. It does an exhaustive treatment of the species and hybrids throughout the world with some mention of cultivars.
Northwest Conifers, A Photographic Key by Dale N. Bever
This book presents a very different approach to conifer identification. The whole book is a dichotomous key with a detailed color photograph present at every option of the key. The back of the book is devoted to the species with a good large photograph of each species in the wild with its identifying characteristics.
Ornamental Conifers originally by C. R. Harrison (1984) edited by Julie Grace (1986)
This was the first color picture book of conifers. It has fairly detailed descriptions with the conifer pictures. Harrison took a trip around the world and stopped at several gardens where he took photographs. He then organized them into this book. It is an interesting book, but the plants pictured were evidently not photographed for any particular reason except that they presented themselves during the tour.
Pines by Aljos Farjon
E. J. Brill
Leiden, The Netherlands
Written when Farjon was a member of the Dutch scientific community, this book begins with the biology of pines and then uses excellent line drawings of a specimen tree, branch, cone, and needle cluster for each species shown. A full page description of each species is very readable, but the maps of the ranges are so small as to provide minimal information.
The Story of Pines by Mirov and Hasbrouck
This book is an interesting treatment of pine species with a detailed study of about 100 species.
Books I believe to still be in print
Conifers: Morphology and Variation by Mirko Vidakovic
English version, 1991
A comprehensive book on conifer species written by an expert dendrologist and forester that gives a different slant on species descriptions. A number of color photographs that were taken at places not very well known adds a certain value to the book. The treatment of cultivars is not very thorough but then it is not intended to be.
Conifers: The Illustrated Encyclopedia by van Gelderen and van Hoey Smith
Volume 1 and Volume 2 706pp 2347 color photographs
This two volume set is a photographic encyclopedia of conifers. Plants are pictured as individual specimens, some of which are still very young, with a brief description sometimes taken from Welchís checklist. The first edition was lacking American cultivars but this edition has many scattered throughout both volumes. This book is well worth the purchase price for the photographs alone. The descriptions are too brief to be of much value and unfortunately have quite a few errors. Many of the plants shown are not available for purchase anywhere, but Coenosium Gardens does have most of the pines, firs, and spruces that are of any value in the landscape.
Conifer Treasury of the World by Zsolt Mesterhazy
Institute for Agriculture Quality Control
1024 Budapest, Keleti Karoly utca 24, Hungary
This is basically a compilation of conifer names and date and country of origination.
Dwarf and Unusual Conifers Coming of Age by Sandra McLean Cutler
This book is basically a descriptive and pictorial history of the Gotelli Dwarf Conifer Collection in Washington DC. It has enough color photographs to satisfy anyone. Especially helpful are the pictures with line drawings identifying all of the plants in the scene. Unfortunately many of the photographs are too small to do justice to the specimens being exhibited. The few errors in the book are of no real concern.
A Field Guide to the Pines of Mexico and Central America by Farjon, de la Rosa, and Styles
Botanic Gardens, Kew
This book is an identification guide to be taken into the field. It has a dichotomous key to the species described followed by line drawings of a branch, needle cluster, seeds, cones, and cone scales for each of the 47 species described. Range maps are found at the back of the book for each species. This book is a nice complement to Perryís text described elsewhere as his uses b&w photographs and adds detailed driving directions to see the species.
A Gardeners Guide to Conifers by David Papworth
160pp 150 line drawings 100 color photographs
This is a narrow book, evidently so it will fit into a pocket. The pictures vary from some that are good to some that are just to add color to a page. The line drawings do show basic forms of many of the plants described but are not done to scale and may be deceptive. All in all it is a decent reference for the novice gardener since it works with the more common cultivars.
The International Conifer Register
Abies to Austrotaxus (1987)
Part 2 Belis to Pherosphaera (1989)
Part 3 The Cupresses (1992)
Part 4 Juniperus (1998)
Compiled by John Lewis
These are the first four volumes in a monumental project to list all registered conifers. It is much like Welchís Checklist only more comprehensive and less prone to error but also a lot longer becoming available to the public. Any conifer name that is registered automatically is added to the RHS database while others that are named through publication must be ďdiscoveredĒ by the registrar to be added.
Japanese Black Pine by Steve Pilacek
I have known Steve for quite a few years and he does a good job of summarizing black pine bonsai techniques as well as providing a good summary of the cultivars presently found in nurseries- both bonsai and garden varieties.
Manual of Cultivated Conifers by Gerd Krussmann
This conifer book is very comprehensive on European cultivars and weak on American cultivars. The descriptions of all listed conifers are comprehensive with good histories. The majority of the information was taken from previous sources, but much of it was also new. Unfortunately Krussmann died before the English language text was finished and a number of cultivars were hastily added from nursery catalogs, bringing some errors into publication, but they are few and detract little from the value of this book.
The Pines of Mexico and Central America by Jesse P. Perry, Jr.
An excellent treatment of the pine species of Mexico and Central America with range maps and photographs of specimen trees, bark, foliage, and cones with seeds.
World Checklist and Bibliography of Conifers by Aljos Farjon
Botanic Gardens, Kew
This technical publication is a compilation of all of the conifer species with a history of the taxonomic classification of each one. It is a must for anyone doing research on species. This particular volume is the third of a series of plants being done by Kew.
The World Checklist of Conifers by Humphrey Welch and Gordon Haddow
Conifer Data Pool
Landsmanís Bookshop Ltd.
Buchenhill, Bromyard, Herefordshire, England
Basically a checklist of names with date of first publication, the originator of the cultivar, and a brief description of each plant, this work is a culmination of over thirty years of data collecting by Humphrey Welch. Massive amounts of information are found within its pages, most of which is very valuable. There are also many errors scattered throughout the text. Since this publication was intended as the first step of what was supposed to be a work in progress, the mistakes are understandable and were to be corrected through reader input over a period of years and subsequent publications. Due to a variety of reasons, I doubt that there will ever be a followup edition, and authors who use this book as a source of information must be knowledgeable enough to verify their information.