728 pages, 1350+ colour photos1 customer review
Flora of the Seychelles focuses on the higher, flowering plants (omitting grasses, sedges, seagrasses, ferns, mosses and clubmosses), and gives amongst others updated information about the flowering season, the preferred habitat, the local distribution, the estimated population size, the frequency of occurrence (very common, less common, common, not common, rare, very rare etc.), the status (endemic, indigenous or introduced, and if indigenous, then native to which other country(ies), and if introduced then the presumed origin of the plant), the status on the IUCN list of threatened plants (and if displayed here, to which degree they are threatened). To that is added ethnobotanical or ethnographic botanical information, e.g. the use of the plant (locally and/or internationally) including possible medicinal use, whether the plant is toxic to some degree, and the presumed origin or meaning behind the scientific, the common English and the local Creole names. Regarding the local Creole names, Flora of the Seychelles presents names that have been accepted and reviewed by the Creole Institute for all of the presented plants, including 40 which previously had no local names. Most striking might however be the many high quality photos taken on location accompanying the descriptions.
Flora of the Seychelles is divided into colour sections to allow quick and reliable identification of the different plants – especially when being used as a field guide. To this end, the book has been printed using a special print-polish which to some extent rejects drizzling rain. Finally, the book includes an extended glossary and extended indexes for the English, Creole and scientific plant names.
"A ground-breaking book. Entertaining, innovative and informative"
- Mr. Adrian Skerrett, natural history author and conservationist (Seychelles).
"The best-illustrated guide to the botany of the islands ever produced [...] It is copiously and lavishly illustrated throughout"
- Ian Bullock, biologist – former warden of Aride Island (Seychelles).
"An important, indispensable and richly illustrated addition to the literature on the biodiversity of the Indian Ocean islands."
- Mr. Stephen Blackmore, Regius Keeper & Queen's Botanist (Edinburgh, Scotland).
"A prodigious gift for visitors and plant lovers"
- Brigitte Fabienne Lesperance (Seychelles)
The Seychelles may as well be a paradise under a hot sun from a blue sky, but what is a paradise for a botanist if a comprehensive flora is missing? I've been interested to visit this chunk of Gondwanaland for years, but since no illustrative flora has been available, spending that money on a trip has hindered me. Now - the situation has changed in one fell swoop!
The Flora of the Seychelles is 728 pages thick, 20.5 × 13.5 cm in size, and comprehensively illustrated with several photos per species. I am particularly delighted to see images of leaves, flowers and fruits, because you usually only have either kind at your visit. Some photos have fine capital letters and lines to emphasize details, accompanied with explanatory text.
The flora in the Seychelles includes some 1335 species of higher plants, 106 being endemic and not found outside the territory, 262 being native but present in places like Africa, and 967 being deliberately or inadvertently introduced by humans. The latter is sad, but true for almost all islands around the world.
A single book cannot illustrate all species, so a selection was needed. The authors decided to focus on the granite rock islands, which are the most accessible islands for visitors. This was a smart selection. Flora of the Seychelles illustrates 321 species including all native ones to the granite islands of which 66 are endemic and another 68 species are native. This gives the reader a chance to become acquainted with some 62% of the archipelagos endemic flora. The rest of the book illustrates 187 introduced species, often cultivated in one way or another. Even if the selection of alien plants is tricky, it makes the book useful in other parts of the world such as the Western Indian Ocean, the Canary Islands, Reunion and Tahiti.
The species are arranged by flower colour: green, yellow, white, red and blue. It is therefore rather easy to manoeuvre the book when searching for a species. The down side, however, is that species belonging to the same family do not come next to each other. For example, species of the Sapodilla family Sapotaceae appear on page 34, 306-310, and 648. But wow - I did not know that there were blue coloured Mimusops!
For each species there are English and Creole names, followed by a description, always accompanied with information on uses, names, flowering season, if parts are edible or toxic, distribution, and conservation status. In other words, this book is very rich in botanical information. I just want to add - go to the Seychelles - you now have a companion!
– Ulf Swenson, Sapotologist and Biogeographer, Department of Botany, Swedish Museum of Natural History
Steen G. Hansen was born 1951 in Denmark. Master of Biology 1978, bachelor of Geography and Geology 1978, bachelor of German Language and Culture 1993. Has worked as a consultant biologist from 1981-1982 and 1985-1991. Furthermore as an upper secondary lecturer from 1982-1985 and again from 1991-2005 – including being a minister appointed examiner. Resident in the Seychelles since 2005.
He has amongst others written a number of scientific and popular science related articles about birds, nature and nature management plus a number of discussions papers, views and feature articles about nature, nature management, gene-tic manipulated food items, the rebuilding of the former DDR, impressions from travels to Lithuania and Bosnia in 2001 and 2003 amongst others and with special focus on the present youth. Published his first book as an author in 2004 with the poetry collection Nuet - og Det Næste (~ ‘The present moment - and the next one’). A renewed and extended version came in 2008. In 2005 came the novel Rustenborg & Co about the troublesome Danish upper secondary school system. In 2006 came his first travel book Afrejsen fra det Berøringsangste Danmark (~ ’Departure from Denmark’), which was followed in 2007 by his second travel book Seychellerne på Tværs (~ ‘Across the Seychelles’). And latest the short-story collection of 2009 called Vingesus (~ ‘Whirls of Wings’).
Victorin F. Laboudallon was born 1954 in the Seychelles. An autodidactic environmentalist, he undertook studies at Cornell University (USA) in 1985 in ornithology. He has since been working at the Seychelles' Ministry of Agriculture and Land Use, as a ranger (1978-1990), then at the Ministry of Environment, first as senior inspector for conservation (1990-1993) and since then as a senior conservation officer, where he among other things has been involved in re-planting programs, introduction of selected birds to other islands and drawing up Environmental Impact Assesments (EIAs) for flora and fauna of selected regions and islands in the Seychelles. He has obtained the international Birdlife Certificate 1997, the Daniell De St. Jorre's environmental award 2002, the Seychelles' Outstanding Award for Environmental Excellence (2004) and recently he founded the NGO of Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of Seychelles (2009). Victorin has published articles on breeding biology of the Seychelles Black Parrot (1987) and sustainability and traditional harvesting of eggs of the Sooty Tern (1990).