[Science news] - Cyperaceae of tropical West Africa

Fri 25 Mar

The Botanic Garden has just published a new book on the "Cyperaceae of tropical West Africa". With more than 5,500 species worldwide the Cyperaceae family is one of the most speciose families of the monocots, in number only preceded by Orchidaceae and Poaceae. The species are very widely distributed across the globe and occur on all continents except Antarctica.

The African continent is an important diversity center for the family; over 1,000 species are present there, many of them endemic. Species in the East and South are very well studied and the current knowledge is reflected in contemporary floras covering these areas. On the contrary, species present in tropical West Africa (although also a hotspot for the Cyperaceae family) are much less well known and the knowledge is rather fragmented. 

This book aims at improving the knowledge of tropical West African Cyperaceae. As a rule, a full-page color plate illustrates each of 321 taxa comprising the study. Illustrations include a representative herbarium specimen and all details useful for an accurate identification (inflorescences, spikelets, glumes, nutlets etc.). If available, photographs are also included, either of an inflorescence or of the species in its habitat. Each taxon is briefly described, mostly based on the authors’ personal observations and measurements. Further details on its distribution (in the study area as well as beyond) and ecology are also presented. 

Identification keys for all genera and infrageneric taxa are included, as well as some novel Quick Guides. Based on experience in the field as well as in the herbarium, additional notes on species are provided. These include information on the identification (useful characters, separation from morphologically similar taxa etc.) and/or refer to taxonomic or nomenclatural issues.

It is hoped that this book will encourage researchers in tropical West Africa to renew their attention to this extremely interesting family. In addition, since many of the taxa included also occur in other tropical and subtropical areas across the world, it will doubtlessly be useful to anyone interested in Cyperaceae.

Cyperaceae of tropical West Africa
par Mesterházy, A., Browning, J. & Verloove, F.
ISBN 9789492663313

On sale in our online bookshop.