Wild Plants of Southern Spain – Review

For those who have a love of plants, going on holiday or visiting another region or country is always fascinating. There will be plenty to see and discover no matter where you are – both the familiar and unfamiliar.

In his new book ‘Wild Plants of Southern Spain‘ Tony Hall brings the plants of Southern Spain and Andalucia to life in a fascinating and easy-to-use compendium that will delight both amateurs and professionals alike.

Tony (pictured left) has visited the region numerous times in order to build his understanding of its flora and ecosystems, all the time recording his observations in notes and photography. Southern Spain is home to many common garden plants, including daffodils, lavenders and shrubs and yet it is one of the most florally diverse regions in the world.

The whole point of Tony’s book is to enable the visitor to actually see and identify the many interesting plants of the region easily. It has been designed as a visual botanical guide with detailed descriptive images. However, it will also prove an invaluable guide to those who want to study the plants of the region further.

For the author, the region is a truly amazing place where flora and fauna are set in visually stunning and fragrant landscapes. As he points out in the Introduction, there are forests of evergreen oaks, Spanish firs in the mountains, dozens of daffodil and orchid species and acres of wild flowers in fields and on verges.

He points out that throughout the eight provinces of Andalucia, there are numerous walking and hiking trails, most well signposted. There is no need to fight your way through undergrowth as all the plants listed in the book will be found growing in open areas, or next to paths and tracks.

The Introduction deals with the Mediterranean climate, vegetation types, the protected areas (national parks) and altitude zonations. There is a section on Plant Structures and then the comprehensive Plant Descriptions. There is also a index of scientific names as well as an index to common English names.

Each entry has a description and habitat with the provinces clearly marked on where the plant grows. There is also a useful printed metric scale rule on the inside back cover to help check the dimensions of the plants in the field and compare them with the descriptions.

The book is a handy size to carry and contains over 500 species, all beautifully illustrated with over 600 high quality photographs and distribution maps.

Tony Hall is manager of the Arboretum and Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he has worked for the past 16 years. His love of the flora of southern Spain can be seen at Kew in the Mediterranean Garden he has designed.

Wild Plants of Southern Spain‘ by Tony Hall is published by Kew Publishing, in softback at £30. It is an absolute gem and will be welcomed not only by botanists but anyone who wants to understand more about the plants of this fascinating region. For further information and to order visit: