Books for Nature Lovers
Problem Plants and Alien Weeds of Southern Africa
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Review By: South African Journal of Botany 76 (2010) 808-811

Since the original publication of this book in 1995 the awareness of plants in our environment has escalated due to factors over which we have little control; an increasing population; climate change and food shortages. There is now a much greater appreciation of the richness of our floral biodiversity and the "green gold" locked into our flora. Personally I find it significant that we have an equal richness locked into the weeds found in South Africa. There is actually enormous numbers of people, millions of rand and vast tracks of land attached to problem plants in this Country. The problem is also a creator of employment and opportunity for very many of our citizens. Alien plants, while considered detrimental to our natural vegetation, also have many positive functions in our every day environment. It is also not only aliens that become weeds, as the author clearly outlines. Due to incorrect land use many indigenous plants must now also be classified as weeds. A large number of alien plants are now also part of folklore and are used in traditional medicine.

The study of weeds, their control and eradication, and uses are fascinating areas to investigate. This book produced by the author is a valuable update on earlier editions. The information it contains is very valuable to all plant scientists no matter their field of specialization. The book is beautifully illustrated and contains information on the plants distribution, their origin, areas where they have become invasive and the impact in is having, economically, ecologically and how they are best controlled. 

This book, which is also available in Afrikaans: "Probleem-plante en Indringeronkruide van Suid-Afirka" should be on the shelves of all Plant Scientists and Libraries of Higher Learning Institutions. School libraries will also benefit having copies available to pupils. 

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