Books for Nature Lovers
Food Plants of the World
To order this book visit our Online Bookshop or contact us directly at
Review By: HerbalGram - Number 72

You have to hand it to Briza; for a small South African publishing company, it makes a lot of noise. Briza's success is due largely to mastermind and prolific writer Ben-Erik van Wyk, who does actually write all these books himself - I have seen him doing it - and who has repeatedly proven that he has good sense for what readers want. All of the "Plants" books authored by van Wyk and published by Briza have been successful. Lately, they have been co-produced and co-marketed by Timber Press (USA) and Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft (Germany), and for the latter, the books have also been translated into German.

These books may not be textbooks in the traditional sense. They provide quick, accurate, and concise "at a glance" descriptions of the world's (utilized) plant species. The latest - Food Plants of the World - consists of one-page monographs on 350 species. Each monograph contains a general description of the plant species, as well as information on its origin, local names, history, cultivation, uses, and nutrient content. Each monograph is profusely illustrated with photographs depicting the plant species, parts used, and/or products derived from it. 
The monograph section is preceded by an introduction, which provides insights into the origins and classifications of food plants and nutrients. The monographs are followed by a section regarding issues of nutrients, nutrition, and health; a list with short descriptions of plants that didn't make it into the monograph section (i.e., a tabular listing of essential information on food plants which did not merit a monograph); a glossary; a reference list; and an index. All such content provides the reader with fast access to a great deal of well-structured information on a previously underrepresented topic. Here are 3 interesting examples: (1) The flowers of cape pondweed (Aponogeton distachyos L.f., Aponogetonaceae) ginve the characteristic taste to "waterblommetjie bredie," a traditional dish of the South African Cape region; (2) Although its exceptionally nutritious grains are highly valued by Western health food fans, grain amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus L., Amaranthaceae) is now consume only in the form of a sweet in its country of origin (Mexico); and (3) The fruit of Blighia sapida (Konig, Sapindaceae), also known as akee in "akee in saltfish", while innocently tasting like scrambled eggs, is highly poisonous unless harvested precisely when ripe and cooked in saltwater before being fried. Readers may be happy to learn that this will definitely not be the last book in van Wyk's "Plants" series. 

121 Soutpansberg Road
South Africa
× Privacy Policy As required by law this privacy policy will contain information on how Briza Publications collect and use personal information. This privacy policy will also contain information regarding the rights of Users to this website.

A User refers to a natural and juristic person to whom personal information relates.

This website may collect certain information about a User's behaviour, what pages was visited, how the User got to this website and the time the User spend on this website.

This website may also collect personal information obtained directly through Briza Publications online forms when completed by Users. This information includes, but is not limited to, the person's name, contact details, email and enquiries posted for assistance.

Briza Publications may process personal information to be used for the following, but not limited to:
  • Communication
  • Providing a specific service
  • Providing a value added experience or service to visitors
  • Complying with regulatory and legal obligations
  • Marketing and promotional services
  • Internal operational purpose

Briza Publications will store personal information only for as long as reasonably necessary and in accordance with the law.

We have implemented appropriate technical measures (such as using login features) to help us keep all information secure, accurate, current, and complete to ensure protection of personal information.

Users to this website may also exercise their right to object to processing of their personal information. Objection to processing personal information can be sent to the contact details provided here below.

Briza Publications reserves the right to amend our privacy policy or add to it at any time to address new issues and will upload the updated version to our website.

By using this website, the User signify the User's acceptance of our privacy policy. If the User do not agree to this policy, please do not use this website. The User's continued use of the website following the posting of changes to our privacy policy will mean that the User accept those changes.