The Smallest Kingdom

Plants and Plant Collectors at the Cape of Good Hope

Mike and Liz Fraser

The Smallest Kingdom

Mike and Liz Fraser

Distributed for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

220 pages | 115 color plates | 9 3/8 x 11 | © 2011
Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9781842463895 Published September 2011 For sale in Canada, Mexico, and the USA only

The Smallest Kingdom is an illustrated account of the botanical exploration of South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom and the plants that this region has given to the gardens of the world over the last four centuries. Home to more than nine thousand distinct plant species, thirty percent of which are native only to the Cape Floral Kingdom, this small region was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004, as well as a global biodiversity hotspot.

Over the 250 year history of Kew Gardens, the plants of the Cape—and, of course, their collectors—have contributed greatly to the establishment of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew as the preeminent center for botanical research. This pictorial celebration of the Cape brings its rich flora to life with a selection of brilliant photographs and full-color botanical paintings.

Locating the Smallest Kingdom
Introduction and Acknowledgements

1. The Thistle from Madagascar
2. The Company’s Garden
3. God and Friendly Nature Combined
4. Men of Questionable Sanity
5. The Scots Garden-Hand
6. A View to Gratify a Curiosity
7. A Collection of Collectors
8. From Cape to Cultivation
9. The Treasures of this Beautiful Tribe
10. Cross-pollinating in Upper Tooting
11. The Good-tempered Flower
12. Bear’s Ears and Garden Diamonds
13. The Smallest Kingdom
14. Back to its Roots

References and Further Reading
Review Quotes
Monterey County Herald

“An extraordinary and enjoyable new book on plant hunters.”

“In this colorful, truly charming volume, Michael Fraser and Liz Fraser draw the reader into the story of plants from the Cape of Good Hope and the people who loved and studied them over the past 400 years. . . . Each chapter creates an inner pleasure in the heart of the reader, who will exclaim, ‘Wow, I never knew that’ or ‘That’s simply incredible.’ The authors also provide ecological insights, linking the land to people the world over—people who appreciate color, beauty, scientific inquiry, and life itself. . . . Highly recommended.”

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