09 September 2011

Calling all flower twitchers

The Flora Documentation Programme is a photographic record of indigenous flora currently occurring on the Cape Peninsula. It began in 1982 when Deon Kesting, retired professor of Librarianship at the University of Cape Town, started documenting and photographing the plants of the Cape Peninsula. Like many before and after, he was bitten by the bug that compels one to identify and document this extraordinary flora. But things went further after he donated his albums to the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area in 1996, and enlisted the help of a specially created sub-committee of the Friends which is still going strong today. Digital photos soon followed, and then someone took on the mammoth task of organizing all the data into a database which you, for a very small fee, can purchase and download and use. It is an amazing tour-de-force and since I downloaded it, hardly a day has gone by when I haven’t consulted it – for ‘work’ or just for fun. Historical and contemporary botanical records and descriptions accompany the plants and most of them have photos attached. If you follow the directions properly, it downloads easily and you will have the most amazing resource at your fingertips. There is a contact email if you experience problems or have any queries (or feel compelled to join the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area).
I congratulate the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area (and the Merrys in particular) for producing this wonderful resource, and really appreciate their generosity in sharing their accumulated knowledge.
You can order it directly from bmerry@iafrica.com or from the Botanical Society Bookshop at Kirstenbosch.

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