A Plentiful Beauty

It is a commonplace that the Indian subcontinent has remarkable biodiversity- and also that this natural heritage is under severe threat. The indigenous flora of our country has been greatly enriched by species that have been imported over the centuries- indeed many of the flowering trees that seem to be so "typically Indian" are recent migrants, brought here by European colonists over the past five hundred or so years...

Books on the trees of India are scarce. Pradeep Krishen's Trees of Delhi is one, of course (and it has a lot of information on trees that are found all over the country). Trees of India, by Subhadra Menon and Pallava Bagla (students of H Y Mohan Ram, the well respected botanist who has taught many generations at Delhi University) is another.

And recently, M S Swaminathan and S L Kochhar's Groves of Beauty and Plenty: An Atlas of Major Flowering Trees in India has seen a second edition. In a review in Current Science, R R Rao writes "The book is a must for botanists, foresters, landscape architects, planners, environmentalists, conservationists and those seeking information on the tree wealth of India."

We agree. The book is a valuable addition to a shelf that needs filling.