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Filmy Ferns of South India - notice and review

  • Subject: [ferns] Filmy Ferns of South India - notice and review
  • From: "Brian Swale" bj@caverock.net.nz
  • Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 10:30:11 +1300

Hello everybody

This message is one that is long overdue. As a review it probably does not 
meet professional standards, but here goes anyway.

In 2004, after a long period of correspondence with one of the authors, I was 
sent a copy of this small volume:

 "Filmy Ferns of South India" 2003, by C. Abdul Hameed, K. P. Rajesh, and 
P. V. Madhusoodanan. 
Published by Penta Book Publishers and Distributors, Darussalam Complex, 
Mavour Road, Calicut, Kerala 673 004, India. Tel: 0495 2725748
e-mail pentabooks@yahoo.com

Listed price: Rs 625/-

My copy came from 
Prism Books Pvt Ltd,
28/630 A,
K.P. Vallavan Road,
Cochin 20.
Tel: 229-3921, 98470-80034

This 260-page book deals with the 28 species of filmy fern found in South 
India, and there are good keys and illustrations, as well as excellent lists of 

The authors modestly describe this book as a primer. In my opinion it is very 
much more than that.  It is a very thorough treatment of a botanical topic that 
is notable for difficulties.

The region is huge and the writers have obviously travelled great distances to 
locate their subjects.

The genera and species involved are examined in great detail. There is a very 
readable combination of scientific text and descriptive prose and as a result 
the book should invite readers from the scientific community as well as those 
with a more amateur interest in ferns..

The taxonomic treatment of the Hymenophyllaceae since the review of Bory 
in 1824, is described in great detail.

The taxonomic history of the individual genera and species, including the 
taxonomic strategies of such scientists as Morton, Copeland, Pichi Sermolli, 
Iwatsuki, Brummitt and Christensen are described and discussed in detail. 
These sections, covering as they do matters which often seem as dry as 
dust, are very readable, which is a credit to the writing skills of the authors. 
In fact, the book is remarkable for the combination of consistent, disciplined, 
economical text and excellent readability. 

For anybody wanting to have a concise history and analysis of the 
taxonomic treatment of this group of species, this book provides that very 

The genera, sections and species are given full descriptions, and there are 
keys all through the volume.

For each species, not only are the sporophytes dealt with in detail, but so 
also are the spores and gametophytes. The distribution of each species, and 
the examined herbarium specimens are given.

There is an abundance of excellent line drawings and  many excellent macro 
photographs in colour.

The reference literature of each genus and species seems to have been 
researched and recorded with great thoroughness. There is a huge 
bibliography. The book is well indexed. It is also up-to-date, and includes 
work by Dr K Pryer (2001) and Hannequin (2003).

The text uses a very readable font, and the whole production has been done 
in India.

Faults?  I think a native English speaker should have been involved to check 
their usage of English (for example, the word "premier" is used when clearly 
the word "primer" is intended), but actually the typographic errors are very 
few. To the fastidious, after 2 years the paper used in making this book still 
smells strongly of sulphite from the paper-making process; this indicates the 
extreme difficulties faced by academics and publishers in this great country 
with many resource constraints and does not detract from the scientific 
excellence of the volume..

Author contact e-mails given in the front of the book are:
C. Abdul Hameed      hameedc@rediffmail.com
K. P. Rajesh      k_p_rajesh@lycos.com
P. V. Madhusoodanan      pvmadhu@calicutcity.com

I am honoured indeed to have been gifted a copy of this book.

Brian Swale
Brian Swale                     e-mail      bj@caverock.net.nz
140 Panorama Road
Christchurch 8008
New Zealand

Tel: +64 3 326-7447

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