The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbsby John C. Manning, Peter Goldblatt, Dee Snijman
The Cape Region, at the southern tip of Africa, is easily among the richest centers for bulbous plants and probably the most famous. Nearly 1200 species of bulbous plants find their home there and almost three-quarters of them occur nowhere else. This first complete account of all the bulbous plants of the Cape Floral Region is an essential aid to the
The Cape Region, at the southern tip of Africa, is easily among the richest centers for bulbous plants and probably the most famous. Nearly 1200 species of bulbous plants find their home there and almost three-quarters of them occur nowhere else. This first complete account of all the bulbous plants of the Cape Floral Region is an essential aid to the identification of all species presently in cultivation as well as the many others that are potentially valuable horticultural subjects. The book is richly illustrated with high-quality color photographs of more than half the species of Cape bulbs, many of which have never been illustrated before.
Lytton John Musselman
Paul I. Forster
- Timber Press, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.80(w) x 11.25(h) x 1.38(d)
Read an Excerpt
The Cape Floral Region is a botanical anomaly. Not only does it have more plant species than would be anticipated given its latitude and climate, it is also home to far more bulbous plants than anywhere else in the world. Its flora is in fact so singular in many respects that the region is classified as one of the world's six floral kingdoms. This is truly remarkable given the unusually small area occupied by the Cape Floral Region, only 0.04% of the earth's land surface. The other floral kingdoms, in comparison, occupy all or most of one or more continents.
Elsewhere in the world the number of plant species per unit area increases form temperate to tropical latitudes and from arid or semiarid habitats to well-watered ones. The Cape Floral Region defies these trends. Although it lies well within the temperate zone and most of it experiences a semiarid climate of low annual rainfall and summer drought, it is nevertheless home to about 9000 plant species in an area of only 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles). This is more species than the species-rich, wet tropics of Panama, which covers a comparable area, and only slightly fewer than in Costa Rica, another tropical area of comparable size. Comparisons between the floras of regions with a Mediterranean climate, which characterizes much of the Cape Floral Region, only emphasize the remarkable richness of the Cape flora. California, for instance, which is recognized as having a rich and diverse flora, actually only supports about 5000 species (just over half the number found in the Cape flora) in an area more than three times larger than the Cape Floral Region. Another peculiarity of the Cape flora is its remarkably high level of endemism. Almost 70% of the species in the Cape flora are found nowhere else on earth. This level of endemism is characteristic of isolated oceanic islands and is unique for a continental flora.
Meet the Author
Peter Goldblatt is the B.A. Krukoff Curator of African Botany at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Throughout his botanical career he has concentrated his attention on the Iridaceae and has shown particular interest in its African members.
John Manning was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and has been a research scientist in the Compton Herbarium at the National Botanical Institute, South Africa, since 1989. He works at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, one of the world's great botanical gardens and an important center for research on the African flora. Although he has studied the anatomy, embryology and seed development of plants in diverse families, including the Fabaceae, Proteaceae and Stilbaceae, he has focused his research more recently on the Iridaceae, collaborating on various research projects with Peter Goldblatt. Together they have investigated the evolution and pollination biology of the African genus Lapeirousia and the systematics, pollination systems and evolution of Gladiolus in southern Africa. John and Peter have coauthored several books, including Gladiolus in Southern Africa and various wildflower guides to the southern African flora, the most recent of which was Wildflowers of the Fairest Cape (Redroof Design and Timber Press, 2000). John is also an accomplished botanical artist and photographer; his drawings have been published in numerous books and scientific journals.
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