Published in Taxon 41: 802 (November 1992)
Schmid, Rudolf. Diversity of plants and fungi. Burgess International Group, Inc., 7110 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439-2143, USA, 27 Aug. 1992, xii, 253 pp., ill., 278x214 mm format, ISBN 0-8087-7931-1 (PB), $19.95 (with accompanying 15-page Instructor's manual). [Contents: intro; 13 lecture suppls. (class.; basic descriptive term.; geol. col., early evol. life; mitosis, meiosis, syngamy, etc.; types life hists.; origin land plants; pteridophytes vs. seed plants; pollen grains, ovules, seeds; gymno- vs. angiosperms; di- vs. monocotyledons; biol. nutrition and associations betwixt organisms; fungi; herbs, spices, drugs); 13 lab exercises (intro; plant anat.; some organ and whole-plant modifications; various plant, fungal groups); 5 lab exercise suppls. (use compound microscope; permanent microscope slide preps; the paleobot. peel technique; dendrochron. using bristlecone pine; fruit class.); biblio.; sample exam questions; no index.]

Not succumbing to current fads, this course manual excludes all algae and all fungi from the gallimaufry protists. Taking a cue from Adriance Foster's Practical plant anatomy (1942, 1949), this course manual integrates extensive background information (13 supplements) with instructions for actual lab observations by the student (13 lab exercises, 5 lab exercise supplements) and borrows 59 figures (including some excellent drawings by Priscilla Fawcett) from Knut Norstog & the late Robert W. Long's fine 1976 textbook, Plant biology (19 figures are from other sources). 

Numerous epigrams, jests, Lewis Carroll quotations, news flashes, Ripley-type "Believe-it-or-not" trivia, literary allusions (Beatrix Potter's secret life, George Orwell), plus examples of the sociological, economic, and ecological importance of plants and fungi are used to maintain the interest of students. Somehow a connection is even made betwixt Ginkgo "nuts" and Anthony Clement McAuliffe's reply on 23 Dec. 1944 to a German demand for surrender. 

This desktop publishing effort, though written in WordStar 5.5, was formatted by my daughter Mena in WordPerfect 5.1 because WordStar is such a dog (see R. Schmid, Taxon 41: 630-631). While WordPerfect is certainly impressive, after doing 265 pages one realizes some of its limitations, notably the lack of a WYSIWYG display characteristic of Macintosh and DOS Windows word processors. The completed MS was out of my hands on 11 Aug., the finished book back in them on 28 Aug. ("Wow! wow! wow!"—The Duchess's Chorus). — Rudolf Schmid, UC

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