From the Publisher
Tree identification is generally perceived as difficult, all
the more so in a botanically diverse region such as southern Africa, where
about 2 100 species occur naturally, not to mention several hundred more
that have been introduced from elsewhere in the world.
'How to Identify Trees in Southern Africa' - a first of its kind for the
region - provides the background knowledge essential for tree
identification. The book promotes an approach that will equip readers to
use any field guide to trees with greater ease and more confidence.
Starting with the basics of plant form, it systematically uncovers the
structure of trees to enable a clear understanding of what to look for when
trying to identify an unknown tree.
The book is divided into two parts: Part One, well-supported with colour
illustrations and photographs, describes the various parts of a tree and
their significance for identification. Part Two features a key to 43 tree
groups based on easy-to-observe stem and leaf features. As a first step
towards identification, the group-recognition approach has proved to be
more helpful to the layperson than the often-used formal botanical
families. An icon is used to depict the principal characters of a group,
thus making it easier for the beginner to record and conceptualize tree
diversity. Group accounts present explanatory notes on group characters and
tips on species identification. A selection of tree species is described
and illustrated, and a list of all the southern African plant families
represented in each group is supplied (greater coverage of species is
featured in the authors' 'Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa', 1997).
About the Author
Braam van Wyk
Braam van Wyk gained a master's degree in botany and a diploma in education
from the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now
North-West University) and a doctorate from the University of Pretoria.
Since 1977 he has been a member of the lecturing staff at the University of
Pretoria, where he is currently Professor of Botany and Curator of the
H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium. Braam is an authority on the
classification of southern African trees. With his students and co-workers,
he has published extensively on the botany of southern Africa. His popular
works include 'Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa' (Struik, 1997) and
'Photographic Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa' (Struik, 2000).
Piet van Wyk
Piet van Wyk (1931-2006), a graduate of Potchefstoom University, worked as
a biologist with the Kruger National Park's research team until his
retirement in 1991. An excellent photographer who traveled extensively, he
established a large collection of photographs of native trees. Through
popular articles and inspiring lectures, Piet played a significant role in
promoting an interest in trees among the general public. Among his
published works are 'Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park'
(Struik, 1984), 'hotographic Guide to Trees of Southern Africa' (Struik,
1993) and 'Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa' (Struik, 1997).