Title: Photo Guide to Trees of Southern Africa
Authors: Braam van Wyk, Piet van Wyk, Ben-Erik van Wyk
Publisher: Briza Publications
2nd edition. Pretoria, South Africa 2014
ISBN 9781920217044 / ISBN 978-1-920217-04-4
Softcover, 17 x 24 cm, 360 pages, 900 photographs, distribution maps
There is no unambiguous definition of what a tree really is. What appears to be a large shrub to some people may be considered a tree by others. Moreover, many trees may grow as shrubs, or pass through a shrubby phase as juveniles. Trees are usually single-stemmed and more than two metres tall, but multi-stemmed woody shrubs, large succulents and even climbers (vines) may be accepted as trees. For the purposes of this Photo Guide to Trees of Southern Africa, the authors have made a selection of the most commonly encountered large trees, but have also included a few small ones with distinctive growth forms.
Their main aim was to show the interesting and characteristic crown shapes and branching patterns of trees, with less focus on the detailed features of the leaves and flowers by which we would usually identify trees. An estimated 2100 tree species are indigenous to southern Africa, and a sizeable percentage of them is found only here and nowhere else. More than 100 alien tree species have become naturalised in the region, where they now cause environmental degradation by invading and replacing natural vegetation. Alien trees have become such an integral part of the natural scenery, that some people are even unaware that they are not indigenous.
Artificial, man-made environments have been created through the large plantations of pines (mainly Pinus patula) and eucalypts (mainly Eucalyptus grandis) in some parts of the subcontinent. Southern Africa in this photo guide is taken to include Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique south of the Zambezi River, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. The Photo Guide to Trees of Southern Africa is intended as a visual guide to the identification of trees within the characteristic southern African landscape, of which they are an integral part.
Biomes and the habitat of trees
Furniture and craftwork from trees
Medicinal and poisonous trees
Trees and animals
Architecture of trees
Explanation of icons and codes
Guide to the species