The front cover is dominated by a colorful and appealing thin slice of a strawberry aggregate fruit. The receptacle tissue shows epidermal, cortical, and vascular tissues leading to three carpels. Two of the carpels are complete; one has lost its style and stigma and thus represents a mature fruit (ovary only). My point is that nothing on the cover illustration is a seed. One would expect a book on the natural history of seeds to carefully distinguish seed from fruit.

The book covers the botanical evolution and development of seeds and focuses intensely on the economic value and preservation of not just crop seeds, but their natural wild relatives. A large portion of the book highlights the germplasm repositories around the world, which is its most significant unique contribution.

The book has several annoying “features.” One is how each chapter is a crazy quilt of segments of differing organization and...

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