Desmid identification manuals

W. & G.S. West: A Monograph of the British Desmidiaceae
Volume 1. 1904; Vol. 2. 1905; Vol. 3. 1908; Vol. 4. 1912; Vol. 5 (completed by N. Carter). 1923.
Ray Society, London.
Photomechanical reprint (all 5 volumes) by Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York/London: 1971.

Links: The volumes 1-5 concern searchable pdf files.

Among the desmid floral works completed, still the best there is. Unfortunately, volume 5 is much less critical and reliable than volumes 1-4. Moreover, the whole series, of course, is far from up-to-date. Although focussed on desmid taxa encountered in the United Kingdom, applicable to the greater part of Europe.
Both original and reprint only on sale at second hand.

A.J. Brook & D.B. Williamson, 2010: A Monograph on some British Desmids
Deals with the Mesotaeniaceae, Peniaceae and Closteriaceae known from the British Islands. Meant as an update of the West & West flora it offers a wealth of new, detailed ilustrations as well as an elaborate discussion of the taxa dealt with.
The Ray Society (London), € 100

W. Krieger: Die Desmidiaceen Europas mit Berücksichtigung der aussereuropäischen Arten
Dr. L. Rabenhorst's Kryptogamen-Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Band 13, Abteilung 1.
Teil 1, Lieferung 1. 1933; Lief. 2. 1935; Lief. 3-4. 1937. (link concerns scans in pdf format).
Teil 2, Lieferung 1. 1939 (link concerns scans in pdf format).
Akademische Verlagsgeselschaft M.B.H., Leipzig.

Photomechanical reprint of Teil 1 and Teil 2 by Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York/London: 1971

Above-mentioned fascicles of Rabenhorst's Kryptogamenflora only deal with part of the desmid genera, i.e., all Mesotaenious genera, as well as the Desmidiaceous genera Penium, Closterium, Docidium, Pleurotaenium, Triploceras, Ichthyocercus, Tetmemorus, Euastrum and Micrasterias. Krieger's flora may be considered a sound and critical one, dealing not only with European species but also with a fair number of tropical taxa. However, it is a great pity that the biggest (and most problematic) genera Cosmarium and Staurastrum are lacking.
Just like the flora by father and son West, Krieger's flora inevitably is out-of-date to some extent. Yet, it is still one of the most frequently consulted manuals by desmid taxonomists.
Both original and reprint only on sale at second hand.

W. Krieger & J. Gerloff: Die Gattung Cosmarium
Lieferung 1. 1962; Lief. 2. 1965; Lief. 3-4. 1969.
J. Cramer, Weinheim.

The above-mentioned work does not deal with the complete genus Cosmarium, but only with those species characterized by smooth-walled cells. Originally meant by Krieger as a another part in Rabenhorst's Kryptogamenflora it was finally composed by Gerloff on the basis of material and manuscripts left by Krieger after his death in 1954. Although Gerloff tried to maintain the high standard of Krieger's work he did not succeed.Treatment of the taxa in 'Die Gattung Cosmarium' is much shallower and less critical than that in Krieger's Rabenhorst volumes.
The manual in question aims at giving a taxonomic overview of all smooth-walled Cosmarium species in the world. As it is not very critical it meets the needs of a literature reference work rather than that of a real flora.
For sale at Koeltz: DM 120.

J. Ruzicka: Die Desmidiaceen Mitteleuropas
Band 1, Lieferung 1. 1977; Lief. 2. 1981.
E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart

By far the best desmid flora ever written. Most critical, most elaborated and illustrated in much detail. Intentionally of such a high standard that it is not to be completed within a single author's life-span. Ruzicka's flora deals with the genera Gonatozygon, Genicularia, Penium, Closterium, Docidium, Pleurotaenium, Triploceras, Triplastrum, Actinotaenium, Tetmemorus, Euastrum and Micrasterias. So, just like in Krieger's flora, the big catch-all genera Cosmarium and Staurastrum are badly wanted (next to another series of smaller ones).
Both volumes still for sale (Lief. 1: ca DM 140; Lief. 2: ca DM 200).

K. Förster: Conjugatophyceae - Zygnematales und Desmidiales (excl. Zygnemataceae)
Dr G. Huber-Pestalozzi: Das Phytoplankton des Süsswassers. Teil 8, 1. Hälfte. 1982.
E. Schweizerbartsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart.

A sound and critical flora, but suffering from an essential disadvantage: it deals with a rather small and arbitrary selection of taxa from all over the world. In view of the aim of the Huber-Pestalozzi series, Förster's flora is focussed on planktonic desmids. However, as there are but few really euplanktonic species among the desmids this selection was supplied with a fair number of tychoplanktonic species (the great majority in the desmids). No geographical curtailment being at issue, that choise of tychoplanktonic species in the framework of a single volume inevitably is an arbitrary one. For that reason, Förster's flora, critical though it may be, serves as a complementary work rather than as a basic floral work.
Still for sale (ca DM 180).

G.W. Prescott et al.: A Synopsis of North American Desmids
Part 1. Saccodermae, by G.W. Prescott, H.T. Croasdale & W.C. Vinyard. 1972.
Part 2. Placodermae.
Section 1, by G.W. Prescott, H.T. Croasdale & W.C. Vinyard. 1975.
Section 2, by G.W. Prescott, H.T. Croasdale & W.C. Vinyard. 1977.
Section 3, by G.W. Prescott, H.T. Croasdale, W.C. Vinyard & C.E.M. Bicudo. 1981.
Section 4, by G.W. Prescott, C.E. M. Bicudo & W.C. Vinyard. 1982.
Section 5, by H. Croasdale, C.E.M. Bicudo & G.W. Prescott. 1983.

Part 1: North American Flora, Series 2, Part 6. The New York Botanical Garden, New York.
Part 2: University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln/London.
> Recently appeared a reprint of the Part-2 sections, see Koeltz

Not a critical flora, but rather a compilation of all desmid taxa ever reported from North America. As the North American desmid flora is very rich in species, Prescott's synopsis is particularly useful as literature reference work.

H. Croasdale et al: Flora of New Zealand Desmids
Volume 1, by H. Croasdale & E.A. Flint. 1986.
Volume 2, by H. Croasdale & E.A. Flint. 1988.
Volume 3, by H. Croasdale, E.A. Flint & M.M. Racine. 1994.

Vol. 1: Government Printing Office, Wellington.
Vol. 2: DSIR, Botany Division, Christchurch.
Vol. 3: Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln (N.Z.).

In design comparable with Prescott's Synopsis of North American desmids, it suffers from the same shortcomings (although, in general, it is a bit more critical and the average quality of the illustrations is better). In view of the rather modest species richness of the New Zealand desmid flora the applicability of this monograph hardly extends beyond this country. Still for sale (Koeltz) (Vol. 1: ca DM 50; Vol. 2: ca DM 80; Vol. 3: ca DM 150))

R. Lenzenweger: Desmidiaceenflora von Österreich
Teil 1. 1996 (Bibliotheca Phycologica 101)
Teil 2. 1997 (Bibliotheca Phycologica 102)
Teil 3. 1999 (Bibliotheca Phycologica 104)
Teil 4. 2003 (Bibliotheca Phycologica 111)
J. Cramer, Stuttgart

Concise, but very useful flora with plenty of (mostly original) accurate illustrations. Applicable in the greater part of Europe. Although taxonomically not very critical it is one of the best options for the beginning desmidiologist in temperate climatic or alpine regions. Still for sale (Koeltz) (ca € 49,- per volume)

P.F.M. Coesel & J. Meesters, 2007: Desmids of the Lowlands
A flora dealing with the saccoderm and placoderm desmids known from the Netherlands and adjacent lowland regions. Illustrated with original drawings and accompanied by a CD-rom with general information on desmid biology (see also home page of the present website).
KNNV Publishing, € 90,-