14 September 2009

Side Note: Field Guides to Flowers

As mentioned in this post I have recently been given two new reference books, both field guides to flowers and fynbos. I thought I'd tell you about them as I love them so! They are already well-thumbed and I can't imagine how I managed without them. Perhaps you might want to add them to your own bookshelf (or backpack).

Wild Flowers of the Table Mountain National Park is a Botanical Society publication (available to purchase on their website here). This edition is the latest one, from 2006. Terry Trinder-Smith's text is accompanied with fine colour illustrations by Mary Maytham Kidd. It is extremely comprehensive and I especially like the size-guide and the information on which area, peaks and slopes particular plants are to be found.

John Manning's Field Guide to Fynbos was published by Struik Publishers in 2007. It covers a wider area that the guide above - the whole Western Cape area, not just the Peninsula. It is jam-packed with useful information and I really like the photographs. The distribution map and guide to flowering months are very handy. I also like the illustrated glossary of terms, and the information on the various flower families.

I've already learnt so much just by paging through the books and by trying to identify flowers. I'm finding it incredibly useful to have both books on hand - comparing the information and illustrations in both has helped me to confirm many of my identifications.

I'm still a complete beginner when it comes to flowers (although maybe it is in my genes - by grandfather wrote a book on wild flowers of the Drakensberg). I'm excited to learn more.

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