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Palms of New Guinea - Pre-order

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Pre-order only. Publishing February 2024.

The first comprehensive account of palms found in the New Guinea region, covering their taxonomy, identification, distribution, habitat, conservation status and much more. 


Pre-order only. Publishing February 2024.

Please note: all orders containing a pre-ordered title are dispatched when the book is released.

Authors: William Baker et al. Illustrator: Lucy T Smith. 848 pages, 246 x 189 mm, Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84246 810 4, Kew Publishing 2023.

From exquisite palmlets to graceful canopy giants, palms dominate rainforests of New Guinea, one of last tropical wilderness areas on the planet. New Guinea is the world’s largest tropical island and a globally significant biodiversity hotspot. Its extraordinary flora and remarkable 250 species of palm are vital for the people of New Guinea, who depend on them for their survival.

Alongside over 650 photographs and 250 detailed maps, botanical artists Lucy T Smith has illustrated all species featured in Palms of New Guinea. This is the first comprehensive account of these immensely important plants, covering their taxonomy, identification, distribution, habitat, conservation status and much more. Written by nine scientific experts, this is an essential companion for anyone studying or working in the region.


William J. Baker PhD is a Senior Research Leader at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, working on the taxonomy, phylogenetics, biogeography and conservation of flowering plants. For 30 years, he has specialised in palms, especially rattans and arecoids, making significant contributions to understanding of the evolution and classification of the family using evidence from DNA. He has studied palms extensively in the field in the Pacific, Africa, Madagascar, Borneo and, of course, New Guinea. He co-authored the second edition of Genera Palmarum (Kew Publishing, 2008) and co-edits PALMS, journal of the International Palm Society.

Lucy T. Smith MA is an award-winning botanical artist who has illustrated plants professionally for 30 years, many of those at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which holds hundreds of her illustrations in its collection. Australian born, Lucy first began drawing and painting palms in Townsville, North Queensland before settling in Kew to work as a freelance botanical artist specialising in palms. She is passionate about combining art and science to document the diversity of the plant world.


Anders S. Barfod PhD is Associate Professor of Tropical Plant Resources at the University of Aarhus where he teaches a wide range of courses from introductory botanical morphology to Tropical Ecosystem management. His research is focused on various aspects of palms such as systematics, ethnobotany, floral development, biogeography, conservation and reproductive ecology. He has conducted field work across the tropics in South America, Africa, south-east Asia and Australasia, including Papua New Guinea.

Rodrigo Camara-Leret PhD is Assistant Professor of Botany at the University of Zurich. His research is centred on the conservation of biological and cultural heritage. He has spent 30 months doing collaborative field work with 28 indigenous groups in South America, organised capacity-building workshops across the tropics, and led a team of 99 scientists from 56 institutions to build the first expert-verified checklist of the vascular plants of New Guinea. 

John L. Dowe PhD is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Tropical Herbarium, James Cook University in Cairns. His admiration for palms was secured when appointed curator of Townsville Botanic Gardens in 1992. This included the Palmetum, the first public botanic garden devoted to palms. He completed his PhD on the genus Livistona in 2001. He was employed as a botanist and ecologist by James Cook University from the early 2000s. He has conducted extensive research on palms in Australia, New Guinea and the south-west Pacific archipelagos.

John Dransfield PhD is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where, until his retirement in 2005, he was head of palm research. He has a broad interest in palm systematics on a global scale and has specialised in the palms of Malesia, Madagascar and Africa, and in the systematics, uses and cultivation of rattans. He is co-author of the two editions of Genera Palmarum and co-edits PALMS, journal of the International Palm Society.

Charlie D. Heatubun PhD is Professor of Forest Botany at the University of Papua, Manokwari. He works in the fields of plant systematics, tropical ecology, conservation, forest policy and sustainable development. His palm research focuses on Malesia, mainly New Guinea, where he lives. He is Head of the Regional Research and Innovation Agency of West Papua Province, Indonesia, which he has chaired since 2017. Over the years, he has devoted his time, knowledge and experience to establishing West Papua as the first conservation province in Indonesia and implementing sustainable development to protect natural capital of New Guinea, including palms. 

Peter Petoe MSc is an Ecologist and Conservation Officer at the local government authority of Kalundborg, Denmark. He is a plant taxonomist and systematist by training and has employed alpha-taxonomic approaches as well as high-throughput sequencing methods to study the classification of palms and improve our understanding of their diversity. In addition to his work on New Guinea palms for this book, he has co-authored various papers about palms and undertaken palm-collecting field work in Borneo and Madagascar.

Jessica H. Turner BSc is a recent Biology graduate from the University of Bath. She has a particular interest in ecology and evolution, studying these extensively during her degree. She completed a nine-month internship at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2021, where she assisted on the Palms of New Guinea project, especially in the compilation and completion of conservation assessments. She has recently worked as a Research Assistant in Costa Rica for the NGO Latin American Sea Turtles.

Scott Zona PhD is a Research Technician in Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University and a research collaborator with the Herbarium of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests are palm taxonomy, anatomy, morphology and the use of living collections in the study of palms. He is co-author of The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms (Timber Press, 2012) and author of A Gardener’s Guide to Botany (Cool Springs Press, 2022). He also co-edits PALMS, the journal of the International Palm Society.

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