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Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2007
ISBN 9781770072404 / ISBN 978-1-77007-240-4
Softcover, 15x24 cm, 184 pages, throughout illustrations and photos
Tree identification is generally perceived as difficult, all the more so in a botanically diverse region such as southern Africa, where about 2100 species occur naturally, not to mention several hundred more that have been introduced from elsewhere in the world. How to Identify Trees in Southern Africa provides the background knowledge essential for tree identification.
The guide promotes an approach that will equip readers to use any field guide to trees with greater ease and more confidence. Starting with the basics of plant form, it systematically uncovers the structure of trees to enable a clear understanding of what to look for when trying to identify an unknown tree. The tree guide is divided into two parts:
Part One, well-supported with colour illustrations and photographs, describes the various parts of a tree and their significance for identification.
Part Two features a key to 43 tree groups based on easy-to-observe stem and leaf features. As a first step towards identification, the group-recognition approach has proved to be more helpful to the layperson than the often-used formal botanical families.
An icon is used to depict the principal characters of a group, thus making it easier for the beginner to record and conceptualize tree diversity. Group accounts present explanatory notes on group characters and tips on species identification. A selection of tree species is described and illustrated, and a list of all the southern African plant families represented in each group is supplied.
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