Click here to see enlargement of front cover Tillandsia Handbook
H.Shimizu & H.Takizawa
Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press

There are two editions of this book and I will address both. The first edition is a 36 page glossy soft-back book. According to the introduction in the second edition, the first edition was published in 1992. The second edition is 134 pages and was published in 1998. There is no ISB number for either edition. The second edition is soft-back as well, but has a nice dust jacket. There are hard-back copies of this edition but these are very hard to find.

As is the case with many second edition books, one would expect to see some minor changes and perhaps some small additions to the first edition, but that is not the case here. There is some repetition of photo's but in fact, the second edition is a complete overhaul. Dennis Cathcart had a hand in the second edition and contributed some of the photo's. He also accompanied Mr.Takizawa on at least one field expedition to Ecuador.

Both books are essentially photo albums. "The objective of this book is not to educate, but to try to capture and convey the extraordinary beauty of the Tillandsia species." This quote is from the introduction to the second edition and I'd have to say that they achieved their objective. The color photo's in each of these books are excellent. Every plant is shown in bloom and in some cases includes close-ups of the flower and inflorescence. If you are looking for a scientific publication, then there are other books that will suit you better. If you want a concise collection of photo's, with many unusual Tillandsia's included, and only a brief description of each plant, this is the book for you. What I found most useful in the descriptions is the elevation that each plant is found in the wild. This went a long way in helping me find suitable locations for many of my Tillandsia.

The layout of both editions is straight forward. They start with very nice photo's of Tillandsia in habitat, the second edition includes many more photo's and breaks them down into countries. From here, the plant photo's are presented in alphabetical order. Following this, there is a nice section on hybrids, but is in the second edition only. After the hybrid section, there is a lengthy discussion of what I can only surmise is concerning cultivation and propagation of Tillandsia. This is in Japanese with no English translation. After this is a scientific index of the plants followed by a brief bibliography.

Both of these books compliment each other and are worth having in any Tillandsia lovers library. The photo's are lovely, the plant names are up to date, and despite its' short descriptions, can be very useful in identifying plants. I only wish there was more of the Japanese text translated into English. If anyone can supply a translation, I'd be most interested in getting a copy of it.

Rusty Luthe
Telescope System Specialist, James Clerk Maxwell Telescope
Mauna Kea Hawaii
"If it's not one thing it's another......"