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Author: Ernst van Jaarsveld
Artist: Vicki Thomas
Publisher: Fernwood Press
Cape Town, 2006
Hardcover, dustjacket, 24x31 cm, 176 pages, throughout colour photos and illustrations
The indigenous Plectranthus genus from the Southern African forests and savannahs are among the gems of our local flora that are commonly known as spurflowers.
Closely related to the sages, mints and basils of the Mediterranean, spurflowers have undergone extraordinary evolution in South Africa, where their numbers have exploded.
The majority are forest dwellers, but a good many have developed ways of coping with conditions ranging from cold and wet to extremely hot and arid.
This, the first major work on these beautiful plants, surveys the discovery and naming of Plectranthus and includes an account of the author's own travels in search of them.
Their cultivation is discussed in detail, and the chapter on indigenous shade gardening contains a wealth of ideas for companion plantings.
A section on distribution and ecology highlights their adaptability and their mechanisms for survival.
The main part of the book deals with the 55 known species within Southern Africa (plus two from outside), all of which have been illustrated by Vicki Thomas from live specimens.