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Tropical Plant Families: An Identification Handbook - COMPLETED

This handbook to the commonly encountered and ecologically important plant families of the tropics will be based on lectures and workshops delivered by Kew's experts as part of the Tropical Plant Identification course run annually at Kew.

Kew’s experts have a broad, practical knowledge of the world's plant families, as well as a good understanding of current opinion regarding family limits. This project brings together the in-depth knowledge of Kew botanists into a handbook that is expected to become the definitive reference work for tropical plant identification.

The handbook is based on the Kew Tropical Plant Identification course which uses a mixture of classical morphological characters and more simple 'spot' characters to teach plant identification. These tools are not generally found in traditional plant identification text books. The documentation of the knowledge held by Kew experts will result in a more or less unique book that is scientifically rigorous whilst providing accessible characters to identify the plants.

The handbook is aimed at students, conservation workers, ecologists and botanists who need to identify tropical plants. Currently guides to plant families are either comprehensive, covering all plant families (eg Heywood et al., Flowering Plant Families of the World) or split into different regions of the world (eg Schatz, Generic Tree Flora of Madagascar), but there is no single handbook treating the world’s plant families from the species-rich tropics.

This book will cover the characters and identification information for common tropical families and could be used as the primary starting resource for any tropical botanist across the globe. Because only the regularly encountered families will be treated, the book will be especially useful for field scientists as the size will be limited to ensure its portability. However it will retain its usefulness in the herbarium or workplace.