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Hortus Third - The one essential authoritative reference work to the plants of North American horticulture
* 1,312 pages
* 23,979 entries with description for families, genera, and species
* 10,326 cross-indexed synonyms
* A large but uncounted number of entries for subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars
* Notes on use, culture, and propagation
* 187 general articles
* 260 illustrations
* 3,293 authors of botanical names cited
* 1,105 glossary definitions of botanical terms
* 10,408 common names
More than two decades were spent in writing and producing Hortus Third. It is the outgrowth of a program of research in the systematics of cultivated plants, initiated in the late nineteenth century by Liberty Hyde Bailey and continuing today within the framework of his philosophy that knowledge in basic science should be made available to society as a whole. Hortus Third is for advanced horticulturists and others interested in cultivated plants, including horticultural and garden writers, gardeners, nurserymen, landscape architects, botanists, and professional scientists in universities, botanical gardens, extension services, and government.
I just recently acquired this book and I wish I wouldn't have previously been so conservative, (cheap), when I chose to order other books instead.
This book is well worth the money, and even though it could use updating, I could have saved myself lots of money in reference materials by ordering this book first. It's the most complete reference book I have, and if they come out with an updated version, and I hope they do so soon, I will be standing in line to buy it.
My dog-eared edition has so many Post-its affixed to it - it looks vaguely like a piņata. Hortus Third has some shortcomings but remains recognized as one of the foremost plant encyclopedias. Well preserved used editions are available at a reasonable cost with some searching.
An invaluable reference book, my copy of Hortus Third is never far from reach. Arguably in dire need of updating, my only complaint is its sheer size and weight, which will only increase with the next edition.
The frugal gardener will find gently (never?) used copies frequently available for 1/3 to 1/2 the new book price through used book merchants and on eBay.