Review – Book for Botanists, Conservationists & Plant Lovers

Filed in Reviews by on December 23, 2016

Southern African Plant namesThe Illustrated Dictionary of Southern African Plant Names is authored by Michael Charters, a non-professional botanist and wildflower photographer and Hugh Gasgoyne Clarke, who has written numerous books in the fields of botany. This book, the first of its kind, compiled over six years, provides a wealth of information that opens up a new world of understanding for all plant lovers, botanists and conservationists.

For anyone with an interest in botany or wondering what a plant name means, this remarkable book will be an indispensable guide. Inside the book you will find nearly 5 000 entries and over 500 beautiful full-colour photographs of plants taken by South African top botanical photographers. These photographs not only give life to the book but in many cases illustrate how these names relate to the plant.

There are more than 900 short biographies together with some 500 portraits in which readers are introduced to the amazing lives of people after whom generic plants are named: their discoveries, contributions to science, their explorations, their achievements and tragedies, thus conserving southern African botanical history. But above all, the book is a dictionary of meaning – explaining what the puzzling scientific names written in botanical Latin mean, and giving hints and clues as to why the author named the plant that way.

The dedication sums up what this book is about – years of commitment and a great love for Southern Africa’s fauna and flora.

‘This book is dedicated to the many people who have given their lives to the conservation of Southern African fauna and flora, and to our wives, Fenja and Miriam, who have shown huge tenacity in supporting us throughout the many years it took to complete’

“I truly believe this dictionary is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ book that you will not find anywhere else in the world and which is an historically significant contribution to regional botany.” – Professor Eugene Moll


About the Authors and Editor…

Michael Charters is a non-professional botanist and wildflower photographer who has been
documenting the flora of Southern California photographically for the past twenty years, taking hundreds of fields trips and some 200 000 photographs. He initially became interested in the flora of the Cape region of South Africa because of the affinity to that of Southern California, and he has visited South Africa four times, spending weeks at a time photographing plants in the field in both the East and Western Cape. His work has appeared in dozens of books and scholarly articles.

Hugh Gascoyne Clarke has written books in the fields of botany including wild flowers of Table Mountain and wild flowers of Table Mountain and Silvermine as well as books in retail, sales management, selling, labour law and children’s fiction. He has a BA degree from the University of Witwatersrand, majoring in philosophy and political science, a diploma in marketing from the Institute of Marketing Management, and Master’s degree in Business Leadership from UNISA. Although a businessman for most of his life, in his younger years he also did some part-time lecturing at the Cape Technikon and University of Cape Town. His interests have included travel, hiking, bird and game watching, marathon running, classical music especially guitar and most recently botany. Married, he has four children and eleven grandchildren.

Eugene John Moll graduated from UKZN with a PhD in plant ecology and spent 10 years working as a Botanical Survey Officer, 20 years at UCT and 10 years at the University of Queensland before retiring to Cape Town in 2003. He holds an honorary position at UWC in the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology and teaches an Honours module in Fynbos Ecology. He has spent his life being passionate about people-and-iodiversity conservation and has published in journals, written books and articles, and served the botanical community in many ways.

This great book is available from most most good bookstores in South Africa… for more info contact Jacana Media

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