Plant identification

If you want to experience pathetic behaviour amongst botanists (not all): invite them to identify plants. You will think you’re in a Kindergarten fully out of control.

Partly this has to to with ongoing hefty debates about names (in fact it’s all ego-politics) and partly it has become very difficult to identify because of hybridisation of plants. Officially, to provide you with an example, there are globally 8 species of the Plumeria (‘frangipani’) but only recently we discovered that the ones sold in south Africa are merely hybrids …..

The best contemporary way to identify plants is via DNA-research. Very expensive though.

A few sources for plant identification are SANBI, USDA, and the Univerity of Pretoria; the latter one also offers courses in this subject.

At Soekershof Walkabout we still have plants of which we know the genus but are not sure about the specie name. And we are not ashamed of that.

We also learned to be very suspicious at nurseries (even the ones of botanical gardens) where the full botanical names are labelled.