Acta botanica neerlandica , Volume 23 - Issue 3 p. 357- 360
To treat the taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, embryology, cytology, and distribution of this interesting parasitic family, augmented by some ecological and economic details, in about 130 pages of print (the remainder of the book consisting of compiled appendages, the bibliography, and the index), is quite an achievement, but it also means that some aspects are, if not completely omitted, of necessity only summarily dealt with. The chapters dealing with the “embryology” and cytology (covering about 40 pages) are as well written as may be expected from specialists of the Delhi school of embryology and anatomy, and the relevant literature is adequately reported. However, some chapters which are not mere compilations (as are, e.g., the chapters on distribution, hosts, and control measures) give the reviewer the feeling that the authors do not have such a thorough grasp of the subjects as would be desirable for a book of this scope. This is evident from the treatment of such items as the classification (e.g., many irrelevancies being mentioned), the nature of the haustorium, and points of floral ecology (the interesting seed dispersal by birds is not discussed at all). On p. 1 we read in the Introduction that “pollination is invariably brought about by birds", but on p. 87 pollination by various types of insects is inconsistently reported. On the same page (87) some old papers by Blakely (1922-1925) are mentioned in connection with the possible incidence of frequent selling in spite of the frequently observed ornithophily (because, according to B., much more cases of hybridisation between species might be expected than are actually found). This idea is quite outdated since niche specialisation is now known to be so commonly instrumental in maintaining ecological barriers between species.
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