Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa, by John Manning
Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa by John Manning was commissioned by Pippa Parker of Struik Nature and produced by her expert team: designer Martin Endemann, project manager Leni Martin and freelance editor Tina Mossmer.
Almost 20 000 different wild flowers are indigenous in South Africa, constituting as much as 10 per cent of all flowering plant species known throughout the world, and the number continues to grow each year as new species are discovered and described. A great many of them produce attractive flowers. Notable exceptions are grasses, sedges, reeds and rushes, together comprising some 1 800 species in South Africa, and most trees, which number an additional 1 000 or so species. The flowers of these groups are mostly small or insignificant, and the species require specialist knowledge for their identification. Excluding them still leaves about 17 000 species of flowering herbs and shrubs. Trying to identify this staggering variety is a daunting undertaking. No single book can hope to cover more than a fraction of all the species, but Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa approaches the problem by providing the tools and knowledge that will enable the user to identify wild flowers with greater confidence and skill. More than 1100 species from across the region are illustrated, with descriptive text that has been carefully formulated to emphasise those characters that are most important in distinguishing each species. At a higher level, each genus and family are carefully diagnosed, enabling the user to correctly classify to those levels even plants that have not been included.
South Africa's wealth of wild flowers makes the identification of all but the most distinctive species a daunting challenge. To make the task easier, this guide provides information at several levels, ranging from species through genus to family. The primary aim is to provide the general user with the skills and knowledge to identify the wild flowers that are featured in any flower guide, not only this one. Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa assists users in naming the more common plant families, genera and species by identifying the features that characterise each of the categories. Familiarity with plant families and genera, and the kinds of features that are important in identifying them, is an essential first step in beginning the more complex task of identifying individual species. Once you have mastered this basic knowledge, you will be able to approach the species accounts in this and other guides with greater ease and confidence. More than 1 100 indigenous species are featured in this book. Although this number represents just a fraction of the nearly 20 000 plant species that occur in South Africa, it includes the more common and conspicuous ones - those that are prevalent in well-visited areas, and especially those with showy blooms that attract attention. Essentially, this excludes any plants with flowers or flowerheads less than 10 mm across. The choice of species was driven by experience gained over two decades of fieldwork across many thousands of kilometres. Parts of the country that are most accessible and regularly visited by wild-flower enthusiasts have been given precedence over those that are inaccessible or poor in wild flowers. Many plant families have had to be excluded. Among them are all the trees, for which many specialist guides exist and field identification is in any case based primarily on vegetative features, mainly foliage. Also not covered are the grasses and related families, including the Cape reeds, or restios, and the sedges. Although very important ecologically and economically, these families require specialist knowledge and microscopic study for their identification. Even among the genera that are included, the coverage of the species is necessarily uneven. Comprehensive identification of even a representative sample of species in very large genera, such as Erica (860 spp.), Senecio (±300 South African spp.), Aspalathus (±280 spp.) and Helichrysum (250 South African spp.) is beyond the scope of a guide such as this. [...]
This is an excerpt from Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa, by John Manning.
Title: Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa
Author: John Manning
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa
Imprint: Struik Nature
2nd revised edition. Cape Town, South Africa 2019
ISBN 9781775846765 / ISBN 978-1-77584-676-5
Softcover, 15 x 21 cm, 488 pages, throughout colour photographs, English text
Manning, John im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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