The Illustrated Dictionary of Southern African Plant Names

For anyone with an interest in botany or wondering what a plant name means, this well-written book will be an indispensable guide.

The Illustrated Dictionary of Southern African Plant Names is aimed at keen gardeners, plant collectors, amateur and professional botanists, academics, and many other people who wish to have an answer to the question: “What do generic plant names mean?” 

Without a reference book to guide you, the generic names are simply unexplained ‘names’ because they are written in botanical Latin which few people understand. 

This easy-to-use dictionary enables readers to find out how plants have got their names. It provides a wealth of information that opens up a new world of understanding for all plant lovers. The book has nearly 5 000 entries and will include approximately 400 beautiful full-colour photographs of plants taken by top botanical photographers. This not only gives life to the book but in many cases illustrates how these names relate to the plant. Pictures have been selected from the various regions of southern African and 24 of South Africa’s leading botanists contributed to this choice with an opening page (from A–Z).

Readers who wish to know more about the lives of those individuals after whom plants were named such as Watsonia, Welwitschia and hundreds more, will be surprised but delighted to find this dictionary contains more than 900 short biographies together with some 600 images, thus conserving southern African botanical history. There are fascinating descriptions of these individuals’ contributions to science, their explorations, their achievements and tragedies.

The book also provides information for those readers who want to know more about the genus, such as whether the genus is an invasive species or whether the genus name has been superseded and what the replacement name is.


Michael Charters is a non-professional botanist and wildflower photographer who has been documenting the flora of Southern California photographically for the past twenty years, taking hundreds of fields trips and some 200 000 photographs. He initially became interested in the flora of the Cape region of South Africa because of the affinity to that of Southern California, and he has visited South Africa four times, spending weeks at a time photographing plants in the field in both the East and Western Cape. His work has appeared in dozens of books and scholarly articles. 

Hugh Gascoyne Clarke has written books in the fields of botany including wild flowers of Table Mountain and wild flowers of Table Mountain and Silvermine as well as books in retail, sales management, selling, labour law and children’s fiction. He has a BA degree from the University of Witwatersrand, majoring in philosophy and political science, a diploma in marketing from the Institute of Marketing Management, and Master’s degree in Business Leadership from UNISA. Although a businessman for most of his life, in his younger years he also did some part-time lecturing at the Cape Technikon and University of Cape Town. His interests have included travel, hiking, bird and game watching, marathon running, classical music especially guitar and most recently botany. Married, he has four children and eleven grandchildren. 


Eugene John Moll graduated from UKZN with a PhD in plant ecology and spent 10 years working as a Botanical Survey Officer, 20 years at UCT and 10 years at the University of Queensland before retiring to Cape Town in 2003. He holds an honorary position at UWC in the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology and teaches an Honours module in Fynbos Ecology. He has spent his life being passionate about people-and-biodiversity conservation and has published in journals, written books and articles, and served the botanical community in many ways. 

ISBN 978-1-4314-2443-6 
GENRE Natural History
FORMAT Trade Paperback
SIZE 235x165mm
EXTENT 500pp
RIGHTS World Rights
RELEASE December 2016