Vegetables in the tropics

Vegetables in the tropics

316 included. N o attention is paid to diseases that only occur occasionally. The chapter on pests and pesticides is short also.For a more extensive ...

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included. N o attention is paid to diseases that only occur occasionally. The chapter on pests and pesticides is short also.For a more extensive treatiseon this subject, a well-known handbook published in 1969 by specialistsat the G.C.R.I. is referred to. A n extensive listof references and a subject index complete the book. The book gives a good picture of the two subjects mentioned in the title,viz. biology and technology. It is not a manual for commercial mushroom growers. Obviously, this was not the authors' intention,considering the chosen subjects as well as the technical language. The way crop management has to be performed is not included. N o attention ispaid to matters such as the construction of buildings,mechanization, climate or climate control,allof which are important for commercial growers. The book should be considered as indispensible for those who want to learn more about the fundamental aspects of mushroom growing. This applies to students as well as to all those who have to make themselves familiar with existing knowledge, and growers who want to know more about the organism they work with daily.

J.P.G. GERRITS Proefstation voor de Champignoncultuur Peelheideweg 1 5960 AA Horst The Netherlands

TROPICALVEGETABLES Vegetables in the Tropics, by H.D. Tindall. Available in North and South Amer-

ica from AVI Publishing, Westport, CT, U.S.A., and available elsewhere from MacMillan, Hampshire, England, 1983, 533 pp., price $37.50, ISBN 0333-24268-8 (U.S.A.), £15.00, ISBN 0-333-24266-1 (U.K.). This handbook covers about 140 vegetable crops belonging to 23 families. The sequence of crops listedin the text is based on botanical families rather than on groupings such as root-, tuber- and bulb vegetables, leaf-,fruit-and seed vegetables. Information is provided on scientific name, synonyms, c o m m o n names, botanical varieties,cultivarsselected for specificregions, centre of origin and distribution, areas of cultivation, botanical description, environmental response, culturalrequirements, growth period and harvesting,preparation for market and storage, use and nutritional composition, and pests and diseases. Most crops are illustratedby linedrawings or monochrome photographs. Since m a n y publications on tropical crops give detailed information on practical operations, the author has considered itunnecessary to describe such practical

317 operations in a handbook of this type. Nevertheless, practical data have been provided for each crop to enable the grower to raise it successfully. Information on cultivars of vegetables grown in tropical areas as well as on crop protection details (pests and diseases) is arranged in appendices, followed by 2 indices on species names and on c o m m o n names. The selection of crops for inclusion in the text has been the result of many considerations, since many are generally accorded minor horticultural status yet may be of local importance. Some vegetables in this category have been omitted from the text, although others which are not widely known or cultivated have been included because of their future potential as food crops when this has become more fully appreciated. The handbook is intended to provide a comprehensive account of the principles and practices currently in use, so that students, vegetable growers, extension officers, research workers and administrators can appreciate the potential which exists for increasing the production of vegetable crops in tropical regions. In this publication, vegetables are considered in the broadest sense possible, including staple tuber crops (e.g.cassava, Irish potato), pulses (e.g.groundnut, soybean, chickpea, lentil,Bambara groundnut), and aromatic herbs (e.g. mint, sweet basil). However, crops such as Lupinus albus, L. mutabilis, Oxalis tuberosa and Tropaeolum tuberosum, to mention a few interesting food crops, are not included. It is preferable to use a more clearcut definition of vegetables in order to distinguish, for instance, between leguminous vegetables (e.g. winged bean, common bean, yard-long bean) and pulses of which other parts than the dry seeds are occasionally eaten as a side dish, or between staple tuber crops (e.g. yams) and those of which the leaves are occasionally eaten (e.g. cassava, sweet potato, Araceae). Although the treatment of the crops according to botanical families does enhance the students' ability in readily associating characteristics of related plants, it certainly does not help in the field of cultural requirements. From the view point of crop physiology and crop husbandry, it is preferable to treat groups of vegetables according to the plant part used ( e.g. leaf vegetables, fruit vegetables). Botanical information can easily be supplied in concise tables stressing botanical similarities and dissimilarities. Amaranth and nightshade, for instance, have more in common being leaf vegetables than nightshade and Irish potato. Literature references are not up to date and French references are systematically lacking, leading to clear omissions; e.g. Messiaen (1974-5, Le potager tropical), Siemonsma (1982, La culture du gombo, l~gume-fruit tropical). Important publications on winged bean (Khan, 1982, Winged bean production in the tropics) and lentils (Webb and Hawtin, 1981, Lentils) are also lacking, to name but a few.

318 Most vegetables are illustrated. The line drawings are of moderate quality, but the photographs, however, are of depressing quality and hardly serve the purpose for which they were intended. Summarizing: the book, although useful to a certain extent, is disappointing because it lacks the structure into which knowledge of various disciplines rel-" evant to the agronomist dealing with tropical vegetables should have been integrated. E. WESTPHAL Department of Tropical Crop Science Agricultural State University P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen The Netherlands