Book Review

Citrus: A Complete Guide

by Lance Walheim

Ironwood Press, 2968 West Ina Rd. #285, Tucson, AZ 85741. 1996. 112 pages. Paperback.
(See CRFG Book Service for prices.)

Reviewed by Robert Chambers (11/1997)

It has puzzled me why the people in Southern California interested in fruits do not spend more time working and talking about citrus. The citrus occupies a place in our economy and everyday life comparable to that of the apple in the temperate zone. But unlike growers in the apple zone, CRFG people, Texans excepted, give the citrus less attention than it deserves. The answer may be that we have too many other, more exotic, fruits to consider.

Nevertheless, the citrus family is not only the main commercial fruit in the southern tier of counties across the country, but it is actually full of interesting varieties and possibilities for improvement.

The new 1996 book by Lance Walheim is a revision of his earlier 1980 book written with Richard Ray. The author has obviously gone over every section of the book and the improvements are many. Of course there are new varieties to talk about, such as the Cara Cara orange, and this book describes more than 100 in all. The pictures are new, and of high quality. The sections on climate and on planting and care are well-written and a pleasure to read.

I certainly recommend the book overall to anyone living in the citrus region. It is colorful, comprehensive, authoritative and carefully written.

Some of you may have a copy of the older edition by Ray and Walheim and may wonder if it would be worth getting the new revision. The advantages of the new book are the more up-to-date coverage of citrus varieties, and the current view of other topics, like citrus and climate, citrus in containers, and the importance of rootstocks. The new book has 112 pages, the earlier one 174. Largely the difference is that the earlier book had a longer discussion on the growing of citrus, using it in landscaping, and preparing it in the kitchen. If you are going to spend time choosing and growing citrus, I would think you would want the new revision.


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