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  • Bronwyn Egan


“Got it! Streptocarpus galpinii!” Thanks to Sylvie Kremer-Khone’s new book, the small blue flower with a velvet leaf is a mystery no longer. Though still mysteriously beautiful, it now has a label which links it to all sorts of useful information. I can figure out what its distribution is and what kind of habitat it grows in. I can read up on whether it is poisonous or edible, common or rare, how to grow it and what pollinates it. Without a name it would be an exquisite, but unknown flower, forgotten in an instant and definitely not missed if it disappeared due to development or disruption. Now, however, I can add its name and its position on a mossy ledge, to South Africa’s floral database, which feeds information into global plant lists and national conservation policies. Knowing its name has also enriched my own knowledge and awareness of its role in the forest where we found it.

Sylvie’s Photographic Guide to the Wild Flowers of Limpopo Province, is a book of stunning photography, and clear, unambiguous descriptions that draw on her love and understanding of our province’s wild places and plants. Her attention to scientific detail and her keen observational skills combine to create a book based on science but incorporating a personal appreciation of each species depicted. Sylvie’s courage and tenacity in negotiating the tricky field of plant taxonomy, together with her tireless enthusiasm for seeking out the flowers that hide in remote and lonely spaces, has resulted in a gem of a book that will be invaluable to scientists and enthusiasts alike.

Meticulously researched, this book is the first photographic flower guide to the whole of the Limpopo Province, and has been eagerly awaited by botanists struggling with identification guides from other regions. Sylvie’s book gives a great boost to conservation efforts to protect our indigenous vegetation and to those eager to learn more about the floral charm of this diverse area. Identifying plants opens the door to understanding their unique ecological functions. It allows an overview of their conservation status and provides a key to the toolbox required to oppose the development threats they may face.

With this in mind and in order to ensure widespread use, Sylvie has grouped the plants conveniently by flower colour, whilst maintaining taxonomic divisions within the colour groups. This, and the fact that it is a convenient size for a backback, makes the book easy to use in the field, but it is also lovely enough to grace any coffee table it is placed upon. It has inspired me to put on my boots, pick up my camera and search for the treasures she writes of, not only so that I can experience their vibrant scents and colours for myself, but also in order to contribute names and localities to national biodiversity initiatives. Thank you Sylvie, for your inestimable contribution to plant conservation in Limpopo Province. A book that started off as a dream between two friends has become a beautiful reality.

To Find out more about the Photographic Guide to the Wild Flowers of Limpopo Province, Author: Sylvie Kremer-Khone

Publisher: SANBI, Pretoria, 2021

contact the Friends of the Haenertsburg Grasslands (FroHG) on 083 471 3851 /

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