The Gambia is a river flowing westward in western Africa bordering the country of Senegal. Senegal has approximately 2,000 indigenous and naturalized plants and about 300 introduced. This book acts as a guide, with illustrations of 160 species in color photographs, and text describing an additional 173 species. The color photographs are arranged in order of color while the text is organized by family. Each 1/4- to 1/2-page write-up provides the Latin binomial and possibly synonym, botanical description, a guide to the flowering times (an essential ingredient for identification in situ), and the colloquial names in both the Mandinka and Wollof names. The book also contains a brief glossary of botanical features, references, and a botanical index that includes English common names, Latin names, geographical distribution, and local vernacular names. This book is designed to be a guide, and a stimulant to increase research and commercial interest in the flowering plants of the Gambi a. Unfortunately there is little information regarding ethnic use and traditional medicine to be had here. Nevertheless this is a useful volume; the color photography is quite good providing opportunities to view plants not readily available elsewhere.
Article copyright American Botanical Council.
By Mark Blumenthal