lliis book is intended primarily as a field manual to enable the reader to identify trees in their natural environment. It describes and illustrates about 815 of the most common native and nalurali/ed alien tree species in southern Africa, which is about half the total number of trees known from this botanical))' diverse part of the continent. In many cases the names and diagnostic characters of closely related species are also mentioned, bringing the total number of trees we cover, and which can he identified with the use of the book, to well over 1 0(>0. We would have liked to include all tree species native to the region, hut unfortunately such a volume would have been prohibitively costly to produce and much loo unwieldy for practical use.

As an aid to i|uick and positive identification, the trees in this book have hcen classified into groups, the arrangement based on easy-to-observe vegetative features. Colour illustrations of flowers and/or fruits, as well as a distribution map. accompany each species. Entries also cover plañí usage, and include references to closely related species. Emphasis is placed throughout on family recognition. No keys have been attempted, partly because not all species ;iai included and partly because the botanical detail required makes it impossible to devise a key simple enough to be helpful to the non-bota nisi

This book contains the most comprehensive collection of photographs ever puhlished on southern African irces. Most of the slides used were taken specifically for use in the book by one of us (Pv W* whoh since 1W2, has covered over 160 (XX) km in his bid to photograph every known spccies of tree native to the region, both in flower and m fruit. These efforts have already yielded a collection of more than 30 000 colour photographs, and the project is continuing,

Trees form a very important part of most natural and artificial landscapes. They are remarkable organisms, commanding respect and admiration for their beauty, size, hardiness and longevity. To study tree diversity and to learn about the very special place they occupy in nature and in human culture is an cnriching experience. Tree identification, particularly in a species-rich area such as ours, is intellectually challenging and stimulating. Not only docs it involve the physical handling of living organisms usually much older than ourseUes, hut it also deepens one s appreciation and enjoyment of nature. We hope this book will provide its readers with many hours of pleasure and contribute towards a greater love and a richer understanding of our extraordinarily diverse tree flora.,

Braarn van Wyk Piet van Wvk Pretoria, February E

The authors gratefully acknowledge the substantial support assistance that enabled them to complete the field work for the book extended h) the three Principal Sponsors, namely Total SA < Pi>) Ltd liuel), Mazda Wildlife Fund (transport* and Agfa (film).


Generous financial and institutional support were also received from APBCO Insurance Brokers ■ Letaba i , res • Persetel (IPty> Ltd * Rand Afrikaans University * University of Pretoria • VDO Architects,

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