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This comprehensive book on these beautiful plants, commonly known as spurflowers, is the result of information gathered over the past 30 years by botanical author Ernst van Jaarsveld. Complementing his text, one of the country's foremost botanical artists, Vicki Thomas, has brilliantly and painstakingly captured the essence and magnificence of each of the 57 southern African Plectranthus species in their different forms.
Indigenous, fast-growing, herbaceous perennial plants, Plectranthus have become increasingly popular with gardeners throughout the world as shade garden and indoor plants - being semi-succulent, they are easy to root, tolerate shade and light, neglect, drought and disturbance.
The book offers the reader a concise history of the origins of this plant group, and deals with the use of Plectranthus as garden and indoor subjects, giving general horticultural advice that includes propagation and pot planting. The group's environmental adaptations, ethnic uses, natural reproduction and distribution in southern Africa are also covered, and a key simplifies the species' identification.
The Author and Illustrator: Ernst van Jaarsveld is the full-time curator of the Botanical Society Conservatory at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. He holds a National Diploma in Horticulture and a Masters Degree in Botany. He is the recipient of the Senior Captain Scott medal from the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Dudley D'Ewes medal from the Botanical Society, and the Hans Herre medal from the Succulent Society of South Africa. A well-respected author, he has published a number of books, including Succulents of South Africa (Tafelberg); Waterwise Gardening (Sunbird); Cotyledon and Tylecodon Handbook (Umdaus); and the semi-scientific Gasterias of South Africa (Fernwood Press). Vicki Thomas, a botanical illustrator, has published artwork in numerous scientific journals. In 1993 she was awarded a Gold Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society and in 2000 received a Silver Medal from the first Kirstenbosch Exhibition of Botanical Art. Her artworks feature in Dr Shirley Sherwood's book, A Passion for Plants - Contemporary Botanical Masterworks and in South African Botanical Art: Peeling Back the Petals (Fernwood Press). Recently her work has been selected for inclusion in The Highgrove Florilegium, recording the flora in the Prince of Wales's garden. She is a founder member of the Botanical Artists' Association of Southern Africa.