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Plants are essential for the survival of our planet and the many life forms on it. Food plants like cereals, vegetables, pulses, root crops, fruits and nuts are hugely important for humans. Other plants provide medicines, spices and kitchen herbs, building material, fibres, cooking and technical oils, dyes, fuel, and many other commodities. Many plants have been cultivated for centuries and are of great economic value both locally and for international trade.
Wim Krommenhoek has been collecting pictures and information about useful plants since he started to work as a biologist in East Africa in the late 1960's. Later, he made many journeys to Asia, tropical America and Europe and continued to extend his growing and increasingly valuable collection of photographs and botanical knowledge. His numerous and extensive visits to local markets, farmyards, fields and Botanical Gardens provided opportunities to photograph all kinds of useful plants and their products.
This wealth of information and experience provided the basis for this CD-ROM. It describes 256 species of commonly used plants and their products, complemented with descriptions of about 300 related species, and illustrated with about 1300 pictures. In all, 90 economically important plant families are represented. The information is ordered by categories of use: e.g. fruits and vegetables; sugar-producing plants; and, fibre plants. An illustrated identification key provides a user-friendly guide through all 20 categories of Useful Plants. There is a section with suggestions on using the CD-ROM for teachers. The unique combination of text and pictures in an interactive format makes this CD-ROM an essential and fascinating introduction to economic botany. It should be in the reference collection of students and teachers, amateurs and professionals – indeed, anyone interested in plants and their uses to mankind.