The Cape Floral Kingdom is considered a hotspot in terms of biodiversity, and many truly special species can be found in the Cape Peninsula. The City of Cape Town is unusual, in that it has a National Park running right through its heart, and for many Capetonians it's as simple as a ten- to fifteen-minute drive to get close to nature. Observant nature-lovers are bound to see any number of floral beauties, no matter the time of year, and in this Quick ID Guide: Wild Flowers of the Cape Peninsula, authors Hugh Clarke and Corinne Merry sketch out an introduction to the most commonly encountered blooms.
Wild Flowers of the Cape Peninsula not only serves as a guide to the different species, but also provides simple maps that assist with the planning of your hiking trip and offers an introduction to the floral beauties of the region that is useful to those who are new to putting a name to a flower and more seasoned nature-lovers alike.
I've found the way the book is laid out to be quite useful too – flowers are not arranged by the season, as I would have expected, but rather by their colours, with photos that display their defining characteristics. Further information includes the flowering season, height, descriptions, leaves, distribution and habitat. Pointers on how to find particular flowers is also offered, along with helpfully colour-coded walking routes and advice on how to explore safely and sensibly – especially if you are considering an ascent of Table Mountain.
This slim volume will easily slip into your backpack, and it's most certainly a book I'll be referring to the next time I head out into the veld. As a Capetonian who's done a fair bit of hiking, it's been wonderful to be reminded how much beauty exists right on my doorstep.