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A Botanist’s NotebookBOOK REVIEWS

A Botanist's Notebook

By Eric Godley
Published by Manuka Press in association with The Caxton Press 2006,
125 B&W illustrations, 235 p., A5, paperback
ISBN 0-9582399-4-X
$NZ25.00

Reviewed by Murray Dawson

Dr Eric Godley's interesting collection of 72 of his botanical essays spans some three decades and cover a wide range of topics. The majority (63 of them) are brought together from a series bearing the same name (A Botanist's Notebook) and published in the New Zealand Gardener magazine from 1978 to 1984.

The remainder are from a variety of sources, including a couple of articles from the RNZIH journal, and there are several new essays written by Dr Godley and published especially for his book.

Dr Godley has wide research interests and has published extensively on the reproductive biology of the native flora, the biogeography of southern temperate floras, and botanical history. This broad knowledge is reflected in his clearly written essays arranged within the following sections: Banks and Cook (botanical exploration resulting from the Endeavour voyage); The Seasons and Winter; Mount Haast; Flowers and Pollination; Fruits and Seeds; Seedlings; Köwhai; Pöhutukawa and Rätä; Fuchsia; Tropical Outliers; South America; Far South (plants of our southern islands); Botany Division and Floras (the Flora of New Zealand series); New Chums (naturalised plants); Reviewing the Regions (the botany of Auckland, Manawatu, and Mount Aspiring National Park); Plant Names and Families (including why plant names change and Mäori words in plant names).

Additional notes and observations made since the original articles were written are indicated by frequent footnotes throughout. Rather than detracting from the book, the footnotes nicely demonstrate how botanical knowledge has advanced over the intervening years. This book has plenty of illustrations with informative captions, and each article will give the reader a fresh insight into the botanical world that surrounds us all.

Dr Eric J. Godley OBE, Hon. DSc (Cantuar), FRSNZ, AHRIH has made a sustained and distinguished contribution to New Zealand botany. After completing degrees at Auckland and Cambridge he spent most of his career as the Director of the Botany Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Under his leadership, the Division greatly expanded its research and extension programmes, established a network of regional stations, and became New Zealand's principal centre for research on native and naturalised plants. His book was launched at the Canterbury Museum on Friday 8th December 2006.


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