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The Genus Agapanthus

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This new monograph provides a fully updated classification to Agapanthus.



Author: Graham Duncan. 256pp. over 240 colour photographs. 12 maps. 246 x 190 mm. Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84246 723 7, Kew Publishing 2021.

Agapanthus is a world-renowned group of mainly blue-flowered, rhizomatous plants endemic to South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland) and Mozambique. First cultivated in The Netherlands in the late 17th century, it rose to prominence in cultivation as a conservatory plant in England during the 18th and 19th centuries, and certain forms of the plant were later discovered to be perfectly hardy in mild parts of the British Isles.

The South African botanist Frances Leighton published the first formal classification of Agapanthus species in 1965. This new monograph provides a fully updated classification, complemented by exquisite watercolours by the South African botanical artist Elbe Joubert, as well as a wide range of colour photographs depicting the species in their spectacular and varied natural habitats. In addition, it includes a selection of 155 of the best Agapanthus cultivars to grow, developed by breeders from around the world, including those in the UK, The Netherlands, New Zealand and South Africa. Fascinating natural history details of its many and varied pollinators are explored, alongside comprehensive descriptions of each species, distribution maps, and every aspect of its successful cultivation, propagation and care.

Media coverage:

...the extensive and detailed information and the wide ranging topics covered will ensure that this volume will be of great interest to enthusiasts, gardeners, those seeking the plants in the field, conservationists and armchair botanists alike. Richard White, Southern African Bulb Group Newsletter

This book is a welcome addition to the growing South African botanical literature . . . I would recommend this book unreservedly to naturalists and gardeners. Brian W. van Wilgen, South African Journal of Science 

Graham Duncan is Curator of the Bulbous Plants Living Collection and a senior horticulturist at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. He has studied Agapanthus in the field and in cultivation over many years and has extensive horticultural experience of the genus. He is the author of The Genus Lachenalia (Kew Publishing, 2012), The Amaryllidaceae of Southern Africa (Umdaus Press, 2016), and Field Guide to the Amaryllis Family of Southern Africa and Surrounding Territories (Galley Press, 2021).

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