All about Flowers
Have you booked for Flowers Camp in Namaqua National Park? Are you driving out to the Postberg section of the West Coast National Park before the end of September? You will have a lot more fun with this book tucked under your arm.
BOOK REVIEW: Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland by John Manning. 2009. www.randomstruik.co.za.
The wild flower bug bit me in anticipation of my trip up the West Coast, so I systematically covered all 488 pages and over 1 100 photos. Even if you are just enthralled by the wild flowers on your local patch, do yourself a favour and get a copy of John Manning’s definitive Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa.
I’ve learnt and absorbed so much, although I must admit the daisies are still baffling…
The guide was conceived for enthusiasts at all levels, in all parts of the country. By dividing the plants into family, genus and species level, with distribution maps and clear photographs, the book helps you to pinpoint the plant. It also shows the flowering months for each species.
A wealth of vernacular names are provided – invariably colourful, these were used by early inhabitants of the country to describe plants’ useful attributes, often medicinal or edible. They represent a rich cultural heritage that deserves to prosper.
Babiana hirsuta (rooibobbejaantjie, strandlelie) is a robust perennial which grows on the sandy coastal flats and dunes in Namaqualand and on the West Coast. Its strong red flowers have a long curved tube. It belongs to the Iris family.
Northern purple drumsticks (verfblommetjie) gets its vernacular name from the use of the flowers of some species (there are 55 spp altogether, mainly Western Cape) as a source of dye. It is an annual herb, of the Sutera family, which grows on the sandy flats along the coast in Namaqualand. The delicate flowers are white to mauve.
Desert primrose (pietsnot) occurs mostly in the drier parts of Southern Africa. The family’s vernacular name duikerwortel refers to duikers’ predilection for the succulent rootstock. It is an annual herb, mat-forming, and grows on sandy lower slopes from southern Namibia to the southwestern Cape.
Beetle daisy or Gorteria grows on dry clay flats or rocky lower slopes in Namaqualand and the southwestern Cape. The vernacular name is a misnomer, as the dark floral markings mimic and attract pollinating bee-flies.
Posted on: September 5, 2012, 7:42 PM
Posted on: November 23, 2012, 2:49 AM