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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Pressed flowers: notions of indigenous and alien vegetation in South Africa's Western Cape, c. 1902-1945
Author:Pooley, SimonISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
About persons:Rudolf Marloth (1855-1931)ISNI
Robert Stephen Adamson (1885-1965)ISNI
Robert Harold Compton (1886-1979)ISNI
Margaret Rutherford Levyns (1890-1975)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057070.2010.507565
Abstract:In the early twentieth century, botanists in South Africa's Western Cape sought urgently to popularize and protect the region's unique indigenous 'Fynbos' flora. Plants imported from the 1840s, some of which proved invasive, became a physical and symbolic focus for their advocacy. The botanists' efforts resonated with political attempts to forge a common white South African national identity that drew on notions of landscape and the indigenous flora for symbolism and that consciously exploited the politically integrative potential of the new science of ecology. Introduced by overseas-trained experts, ecological theory was, however, inappropriate for the local flora, and had unfortunate consequences for the scientifically-informed research and management particularly of the fire-maintained Fynbos. While botanists and conservationists were united in defending the local flora against invasive introduced plants, they drew distinctions between what was 'indigenous' and what was 'natural' that further complicated their attitudes to the local flora. This confusion can be traced in the work of four prominent Cape botanists of the period, namely Rudolph Marloth, Robert Steven Adamson, Robert Harold Compton and Margaret Rutherford Michell-Levyns. These historical debates illuminate agendas and policies on introduced ('alien') and indigenous flora in the region today. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]