Southern Africa has a total of 225 plant families with the 52 largest families covering over 90% of the flora. The large number of plant species in this region (ca. 24 000) makes identification to species level relatively difficult and the first step is usually to determine the family to which a specimen belongs.

Knowledge of plant families allows one to place unknown plants into broad categories and then to focus on a smaller search for the correct name. This book aims to introduce readers to the beauty and diversity of our fascinating flora, and to enable scholars, students, amateurs and professionals alike to identify plants to family level. The identification process is introduced in a predominantly visual way by providing images to identify the key diagnostic characters for each family.

The beauty of, and variation within each family is comprehensively illustrated with images of a range of genera. Additional information is provided on the distribution and usefulness of each family. It is hoped that this book will inspire readers to appreciate our indigenous flora.

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