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The native flora of southern Africa is one of the richest and most distinctive in the world. More than 22,000 species of plants, ranging in size from diminutive succulents little larger than pins to towering forest giants 60 metres high or more, have been recorded south of the Zambezi, Okavango and Cunene Rivers. This diverse flora is contained in an area of 2,5 million square kilometres. The significance of these figures becomes evident when the southern African flora is compared with that of subtropical and tropical Africa to the north. An area of equivalent size in East Africa, for instance, contains a meagre 6,000 plant species, while even the richest parts of tropical Africa produce little more than 10,000 plant species in an area just slightly smaller.
This book is a journey through the flora of southern Africa. Each spread represents a stop along the way, chosen for its distinctive landforms, or interesting or especially beautiful plants.