Without doubt one of the trickiest groups of plants to identify in the fynbos are the restios. They often dominate the Cape Flora over large areas and while any of the other fynbos groups can be absent from a particular habitat, it is the presence of the restio family that is the unique distinguishing component of fynbos. That said, they are certainly not the easiest to identify and most plant lovers will at best give them a cursory glance, focusing rather on the many bright, showy flowering plants of the region.
With their release of the Restios of the Fynbos in 2000, Els Dorrat-Haaksma and Peter Linder demystified this archetypal group of fynbos plants for the first time. And now, twelve years later, Els and Peter have produced an expanded and updated version of this unique book. Restios of the Fynbos is beautifully illustrated with over 400 3-D scanned color images that reveal just how intricate and beautiful these plants are close up. The book covers everything you need to know about restios from where they grow, their ecology, biology, uses for people, conservation and how to grow restios for nurseryman and gardeners. The book also has a key to assist identification of all African genera as well as for identifying all Cape Peninsula restionaceae to species level.
I tested the key on a few local Overberg restios and was amazed just how well it works. The book is crisply and concisely written and its compact design makes it handy and usable as a field guide. With Restios of the Fynbos in hand, one no longer needs to be intimidated by this fascinating group of plants and it will appeal to anyone wanting to discover more about restios.