The allure of conifers…



Why conifers?...


There is a boom in the realm of conifer literature in recent years and this book is among the major contributions to "conifer science". The increasing interest towards conifers is nurtured by exciting new discoveries, the recognition of a greater need for their conservation, and their benefits and usage in many arenas of human life. And as stated in a personal note by the authors, "if botany is "scientia amabilis"—the "amiable science"—then, for us, the study of conifers is "scientia amabilissima"—the "most amiable science.""


Conifers include approximately 625–700 species worldwide and up to 1000 taxa including distinctive subspecies and varieties, compared with an estimated 250,000 species of flowering plants, but conifers are much more important to the world's landscape and ecology than their relatively small number of species might suggest. Conifers have their own unique appearance, especially when compared with broad-leaved trees. Enthusiasts and collectors around the world have provided a huge niche for them among cultivated plants, and the unparalleled beauty of many conifers—especially cypresses, cedars, firs, and spruces—enhances innumerable landscapes, both public and private. Anyone looking for something uncommon to complement a plant collection can choose from an extraordinary variety of conifers ranging from the magnificence of giant sequoias, cedars, and golden larches to the innumerable shapes and sizes of dwarf and slow-growing species and varieties. Conifers, nearly all of which are evergreen, also offer a delightfully refreshing contrast in a winter landscape. This is especially true in temperate zones, where deciduous trees usually prevail. By providing a spectacle throughout the year, conifers are notable compared with trees that spend half the year leafless.


Why conifers?... Driven by competition from broad-leaved trees into regions where there is little competing vegetation, in nature most conifers inhabit cold, dry, and austere places that are inhospitable to humankind: the endless taiga, vast expanses of high-mountain and subalpine forests, steep mountain cliffs, the periphery of deserts, and seemingly boundless marshlands. Because conifers generally occur in such unfavorable places, it is no surprise that they are often invoked as symbols of wild, primeval nature.


This book is a tribute to these beautiful plants. And the team that prepared this book pays tribute to all – the
Benefactor, the late Mr. Walter Hunnewell, as well as the great number of supporters, foundations, volunteers, field guides and many others – who helped to create it.


Recent posts

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014
Abies, Hungary

A young grafted tree of Abies numidica, cultivated in a private garden in Budakeszi, Hungary, has started to develop male cones. Pollen shedding was caught at the right time.

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

Pollen cones of Cephalotaxus harringtonii appeared for the first time on a plant grown from seed collected in Japan (Dendrological Atlas expedition, 1997), now cultivated in the living collection at the Budakeszi Herbarium.

Saturday, Apr 12, 2014

Pollen cones of Juniperus communis, recently seen in the wild outside the city of Budapest.

Thursday, Apr 10, 2014

Of the several mature Douglas firs growing at the Budakeszi Forest Station, most trees have purple-red young cones (while in others these are light green); this specimen was photographed a few days after pollination.

Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014

Pollen cones of Nootka Cypress, Callitropsis nootkatensis, with a mature open cone hiding behind, observed at the Folly Arborétum, Hungary.

Saturday, Apr 5, 2014

Mediterranean high mountain habitat of Juniperus communis var. saxatilis on Ulu Dağ (Mount Olympus) (2543 m), Turkey, here at around 1800 m, associating with Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana and Abies bornmuelleriana.

Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014
Pinus, Portugal

Mature but still closed cone of a young tree of Pinus pinaster, captured in a secondary forest near the town of Setubal, Portugal.

Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014
  • Two volumes, 1089 pages, more than 3700 color photographs and 1300 illustrations, maps; hard cover
  • Text in English
  • Price € 97.5/2 volume set
  • ISBN (Vol. 1) 978-963-219-063-1
  • ISBN (Vol. 2) 978-963-219-064-8
  • ISBN (Vols. 1–2) 978-963-219-061-7


It's Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the budding conifers are inviting everyone to explore their rich diversity. To celebrate, the award winning Conifers Around the World will be available at a 50% discount for a limited time only. This discount for your personal tour of the world's conifers via 5000 illustrations expires on May 15, 2014!


>> Sample Pages from the Conifers Around the World Book

>> About Conifers Around the World 

>> Book Reviews

>> Conifers Around the World is available at


Monday, Mar 31, 2014
Beautiful untouched (inaccessible) habitat of several conifers seen in the Japanese Alps during a Dendrological Atlas expedition; the light bluish-gray trees are Larix kaempferi growing mainly with Abies homolepis, A. veitchii, Chamaecyparis obtusa and pisifera, Pinus parviflora, Thuja standishii. 
Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014

A handsome specimen of the Himalayan Weeping Juniper, Juniperus recurva, exhibits developing and ripe cones at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.