QBARS - v13n4 Book Review: 'Azaleas'

Book Review
J. Harold Clarke

"AZALEAS" by Frederick Street, 278 Pages, Illustrated, (Cassell)

Human interest as well as interest in plants features the first part of this book. A number of chapters are devoted to the individuals who introduced the first plants of various Azalea species to the British Isles. This not only makes interesting reading, but. helps to provide a better understanding of the origin of our present day cultivated Azaleas. Many of the Azalea types are quite complex, being the result of much inter-crossing between various species. Emphasis is given not only to the ancestry, and general lines of breeding, of our present day Azaleas, but also to many relatively abstruse factors which were involved in the rapidity, or lack of it, with which these Azalea types finally developed. Every Azalea fan will appreciate this historical account and the intimate and very informal way in which it is approached.

The remainder of the book deals with discussions of various species and varieties, and their culture. This is good information to have although much of it is available from other sources. It is my guess that the book will be most noted for its discussion of the people involved and their long struggle to produce what we enjoy today. There are a number of colored as well as black and white illustrations.

Mr. Street is coming to be known in this country for his informal and very human way of approaching the problems of Rhododendrons and Azaleas, as well as for his extensive research and wide knowledge of the genus. Azalea fans should have a chance to read this book.