Dec 4, 2017
Propagation textbook includes contribution by UF professor

Growers, students and professors use this textbook across the world, and now a University of Florida environmental horticulture professor has helped write the new edition of what those in the industry and academia consider the Bible of propagation texts.

Sandra Wilson is now the fifth author in the nearly 60-year history of the book, Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices. Wilson co-authored the latest – and now ninth – edition with Fred Davies, regents’ professor emeritus of horticultural sciences at Texas A&M University, and Robert Geneve, horticulture professor at the University of Kentucky.

“I felt very humbled and honored to work beside two of my greatest mentors since graduate school,” Wilson said. “The book covers ornamentals, fruits, vegetables and more. It is not uncommon to find it on the bookshelves of our growers.”

The new version of the textbook includes the latest innovations in propagation, more than 650 updated color images and illustrations, a new glossary and web support that lets faculty download PowerPoint presentations, Wilson said.

Propagating plants means producing more of them, but there’s far more to it than that. So, Wilson and her co-authors explain it in much greater detail.

The 1,000-page, 21-chapter book begins with the history of plant propagation and then leads into the principles and practices of seed, vegetative and tissue culture propagation, Wilson said. The last three chapters focus on propagation methods for fruit and nut species, ornamental trees and shrubs and herbaceous annual and perennial plants. A 500-term glossary completes the book.

First published in 1959, the idea for the book came in 1955, when Hudson Hartmann envisioned writing a comprehensive plant propagation text and invited his colleague, Dale Kester at the University of California-Davis to co-author the book, Wilson said.

Hartmann and Kester taught or co-taught plant propagation at UC-Davis from 1945 to 1987. Together, they co-wrote five editions of the textbook, Wilson said.

“With this current edition, we hope that we have continued the tradition and original intent expressed by Hudson Hartmann and Dale Kester in the preface of the first edition,” Wilson said.

That preface says: “This book provides a source of information concerning the fundamental principles involved in plant propagation, and serves as a manual that describes useful techniques for propagating plants.”

– Brad Buck, University of Florida

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