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This is an excellent guide to palms of the Americas (too bad there isn't a comparable book for the rest of the world). It lists EVERY species growing in the Americas (except Hawaii is left out for some reason), has a very good description of each, and a an excellent discussion, along with map, on where to find them. Dr. Henderson does tend to be a lumper and has met huge criticism for combining many species of palms previously thought to be separate species- most of this criticism is from growers, however, who want to have more species in their collections, or who claim to have more species for sale. However, he is also sometimes at odds with the local researchers on palm biology as well. He does warn that his taxonomic views are not always based on huge amounts of data and are only suggestions, not the law. Either way, I found this book to be THE bible on stuff in the new world whenever there is doubt about something... at least until something better comes along, which is unlikely.
My main complaint about this book, as it is with nearly all palm books, is the lack of photographs. Only a small number of the palms are represented with a photo, and all the photos are at the back of the book. Too bad.
This book is only available now in soft back, but it is a high quality cover and has held up to many years of me opening it, tossing it about and general abuse of that kind. It's an excellent and convenient size (would have been happy to have it fatter if it were more full of photos, though). It is NOT THE book on palms by any means, as it only covers a part of the world, and is way too lean on photos.. and has zero cultivational infromatin or discussion on palms... it is meant to be a guide only, and it is an excellent one at that.