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Van Wyk, Braam. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 2 of 2. Physical Description p. Subjects Trees -- Africa, Southern -- Identification. Notes Includes bibliographical references p. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Open to the public slv Book; Illustrated English Show 0 more libraries May not be open to the public ; held Book; Illustrated English Show 0 more libraries None of your libraries hold this item.

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Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa -

Michael Proctor. Both editions contain the same number of groups although the later edition covers more species. The flowchart-based format for illustrating identification keys makes it so simple to follow rather than the traditional text-based identification keys. The user-friendly design extends into the end matter where images are used as a photographic glossary to illustrate features such as stipules and domatia. The grouping based on leaf characteristics does mean that species from different plant families and orders are mixed into the same group and offers no insight into the evolutionary relationships.

Plant guides can never offer both; having to choose between a taxonomic approach e. Given that the aim is to help non-botanists identify the trees of Southern Africa, this approach is probably appropriate.

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As a result of arranging the trees into groups with shared external characteristics, the brief accounts of the different families to which they belong, are provided in the front section of the book. The text is necessarily concise with over a 1, of the 2, species found in the region covered in its pages. The text hits the mark with a minimal use of botanical terms and being identification oriented with key diagnostic features in bold face.

It also in some cases highlights differences with similar species. In this respect it is unchanged in style from the first edition which I suspect may have been a pioneering photographic field guide in distilling the essence of identification with a focus on diagnostic features rather than repeating a ream of features leaving the reader to figure out how to tell one species apart from another. My motivation for buying this book was twofold. Firstly, in anticipation of a forthcoming trip to Zambia. Although Southern Africa is defined as the area south of the River Zambezi, this book seemed like it would be a good proxy for a field guide to the trees I am likely to see in Zambia.

Secondly, I am working on a compact photographic guide to the trees of Sri Lanka. Reading botanical books from other parts of the world is a part of the background research as well as a way of scouting around for good techniques to make a book, reader-friendly. I would recommend that anyone working on a photographic guide to plants examines this book for its elements of good design and clarity of exposition.

The front matter of the book has a brief introduction which includes a map showing the biomes and vegetation types in Southern Africa. Another map shows the regions and centres of plant diversity and endemism. Southern Africa has several centres of plant endemism.


This is followed by a section on identifying trees and sections on how to use the book and a guide to the species accounts. The key to the 43 groups used in the book is followed by the family descriptions. Pages 18 to 33 cover the family descriptions and the sections seem brief. However, an astonishing plant families are covered; around a quarter of the plant families presently recognised in the work of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 4 APG4. The end section is quite lengthy, running from pages It begins with a photographic index of full trees and runs up to page , with the trees in the same order of the 43 groups.

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Trees in isolation are hard to photograph. Isolated trees are either those that have managed to establish themselves somewhere inhospitable or those that have been left alone as shade trees or to provide fodder for livestock when people have made clearings. The full trees in the appendix are cross-referenced in the main text.

The book is completed with a glossary of terms, figures, a bibliography and a list of contact addresses. This is an outstanding field guide. I cannot imagine anyone with an interest in plants, living or regularly visiting Southern Africa not wanting to have this book. Yes No. Recommended Reading.