Author(s): HUGH MCALISTER
Of the many tree and shrub genera, no other offers the range of features that Rowans do - suitable for a variety of garden situations, from tiny alpines, through shrubs of all sizes, to tall trees, very few are grown or even known about. This book describes over 60 species related to the familiar rowan Sorbus aucuparia, visually striking, with profuse fruits and flowers of pure white, crimson, pinks, yellow and orange to red, the wealth of new material provided here is remarkable. The author has first hand knowledge and experience of growing all the species, gained from 25 years of meticulous study at Ness Gardens. His discovery of the occurrence of asexual reproduction by seed (apomixis) within the genus has led to a re-appraisal of its classification. In addition, apomictic species can be propagated easily and cheaply by seed, thus providing a rare opportunity to bring new species with a stunning variety of colours and forms into our gardens. Sections on propagation and cultivation will be invaluable to gardeners and professional horticulturalists, while the inclusion of evolutionary history of Sorbus will be of great interest to botanists, biogeographers, and plant collecting enthusiasts. The close collaboration between botanist author and internationally renowned artist, who for 20 years have shared a fine degree of observation of these living plants, also makes this book an outstanding contribution to botanical illustration.
Hugh McAllister was Deputy Director of Ness Gardens, (University of Liverpool Botanic Gardens) from 1972 to 1997, and is currently a lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at Liverpool University. He has been studying Sorbus for nearly 30 years, using chromosome numbers and living material to devise an evolutionary classification of the genus. Josephine Hague graduated in Textile Design from Liverpool College of Art in 1949. She became a commercial illustrator in 1979, specialising botanical drawing from 1981 onwards. Widely published and exhibited in both the UK and abroad, her awards include the Large International Gold Medal, RHS Gold Medals and the Silver Gilt Lindley Medal.