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East African Plant Collectors is a record of some 2,700 people who have collected herbarium specimens in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, designed as a supplement to the now complete Flora of Tropical East Africa. The profiles give an indication of careers and interests, the places where the plants have been collected and herbaria in which the specimens are located. A timeline and a synopsis give an idea of professions and the changes through the eras since the first recorded herbarium specimens were collected in 1793. Accompanied with line illustrations and black and white photographs throughout.
Diana Polhill worked in the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 1957 to 1994, and was Assistant Editor of the Flora of Tropical East Africa, and compiled the companion volume Flora of Tropical East Africa: Index of Collecting Localities (1988).
Roger Polhill worked in the Kew Herbarium from 1961 to 1997 and was Editor of the Flora from 1966 until his retirement, since when he has continued to assist with the African floras and helped Diana with this book. The book also owes much to 454 contributors and correspondents involved with plant collecting in the region.
"I read through the book last night and really enjoyed it, like catching up with old friends. I was amazed at just how many people I know or had known since starting at Kew 41 years ago [...] ..sincere congratulations on a marvellous production."
– Dr Phil Cribb, Research Fellow and formerly Deputy Keeper of the Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"Congratulations on a fine piece of work! It is a wonderful record and I shall look forward to reading about all those I remember from the old days in East Africa. Do hope the publication does well."
– Jocelyn Hemming, former wife of Chris Hemming, both of Desert Locust Survey, East Africa
"I am amazed at the amount of research you have put into it and it is a beautifully presented book."
– John Leonhardt, former Head of Biology Department, St Joseph's College, Chidya, Tanzania
"And what a superb publication to celebrate! The mind boggles at the amount of work that has gone into it. It's one of those books that one can dip into and then be led on to other pieces almost ad infinitum."
– Dr Mike Lock, Research Fellow, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"I have spent many nostalgic hours reading my way through from front to back, reawakening so many wonderful memories of so many friends and characters we have all had the pleasure to know and work with over the years. It has been a feast of pleasure and laughs of so many times. You have both given us all a most 'loving and caring' image of a bygone age sadly never likely to return, but now recorded for ever in your careful pen pictures! Thank you, on all our behalfs!"
– Professor Gren Lucas, formerly Keeper of the Herbarium and Acting Director of Kew
"I today received with many thanks your fantastic book on East African Plant Collectors. It is much more than I expected, it is a real encyclopaedia of botanical research in East Africa. It had to be an enormous work to gather such an amount of information. The book is a befitting continuation of the Index of Collecting Localities and a very useful complement to the Flora of Tropical East Africa. I was very pleased to come across the names of so many nice colleagues known from Tanzania and Kenya. I can just congratulate both of you."
– Professor Tamás Pócs, Hungarian Academy of Science
"The book is beautifully produced and is a true labour of love on your parts. I have edited several books and know what's involved. But I have never edited anything as comprehensive as this one. Congratulations. As we read it we discover many of our friends and colleagues which is very gratifying."
– Professor Vernon Reynolds, Emeritus Professor, University of Oxford
"It is an honour to be included with such a number of illustrious collectors. The book must represent a massive amount of work and I have found many of the entries intriguing and highly informative. The 19th and early 20th century contributors were fascinating, and it was good to see so many and such a lot of detail on the East African collectors (some of whom I am pleased to see were my ex-students). Well done."
– Ian Thomas, formerly Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow, University of Dar es Salaam