It was my original intention to describe in detail (without
reference to other works) only those species with which I was myself
acquainted, giving only short notes concerning those species which
I had not met. Whilst such a treatment might have something to
commend it in a work regarded purely as a thesis, it obviously limited
the value of a work intended for publication as a reference book.
I have therefore modified my original intention greatly and have
included all the authoritative information concerning botanical
descriptions, habits, field characters and uses :, on which I could lay
my hands. In other words this book is, in part, a compilation. In
cases where all the families, genera or species being dealt with are
not available for scrutiny, botanical keys are notoriously difficult
to construct. I have had no hesitation,.therefore, in borrowing
widely from the keys contained in published works, notably the Flora
of Tropical Africa, the Flora of West Tropical Africa, and Hutchinson's
Families of Flowering Plants.
In order to avoid interruption of the text by quotation marks
and bracketed reference, I have not indicated borrowed references in
the body of the work, even when, as is often the case, such information
has been quoted almost verbatim.
The chief sources of reference are indicated in the Bibliography,
those from which I have borrowed most freely being indicated by
asterisks. The most useful works (which snould be in the library of
every Forest Officer in Uganda), are indicated by double asterisks.
To all the authors I wish to express my indebtedness.
The usual difficulty has been experienced in deciding what species
to include and what to exclude; i.e. as to where shrubs end and
trees begin. Such a decision must always be largely a matter of
personal opinion, and in such cases there will always be divergent
views. In general I have preferred to err on the side of inclusion
rather than of exclusion but it is quite possible that a number of
plaits which I have encountered only as shrubs do sometimes. occur as
trees. In all I have described 635 species (excluding varieties), of which I have collected myself.
The arrangement of this book is alphabetical. The families
follow each other in alphabetical order, the genera are arranged
alphabetically within the family and the species alphabetically within
the genera. Botanists would no doubt prefer an arrangement on
phylogenetic lines but there can be little doubt that for quick reference
the alphabetical arrangement is best. Since, however, both
the chief herbaria in Uganda are arranged phylogenetically according
to the classification proposed by Hutchinson in The Families of
Flowering Plauts, I have quoted the number of the family in Hutchinson's
arrangement at the top of each page of this book, a procedure
which should facilitate reference.
CITATION OF SPECIMENS:
In all cases where a species is represented in my own collection
and has therefore been readily available to me for examination, I have
cited that specimen in preference to any other. In cases where I have
not collected a plant myself I have cited some specimen of another
collector whose material I have examined, or a description of whose
specimen I have seen.
No attempt has been made to give the full synonymy of any of the
species dealt with but if a plant has been known in Uganda by any name
other than the correct one I have indicated whether that name is a
synonym or a misidentification.
All specific epithets have been decapitalized in conformity with
the practice adopted by the Imperial Forestry Institute, Oxford, and
in accordance with Resolution VIlI b. (Botanical Orthography) of the
Fourth Empire Forestry Conference, 1935.
Vernacular, European AND TRADE NAMES:
Although the average African is acquainted with the local names
of a larger number of the plants of his native country than is the average European,
his application of the names to the plants is not sufficiently
accurate for a vernacular name to be a consistently reliable means
of identifying a given species. At the same time a vernacular name
is frequently a useful check on identification arrived at in other
ways, and as such can have considerable value.
In this book I have included only those vernacular names which
are of proved application and have been confirmed by at least three
independent observers. Had I included all the vernacular names recorded
in my notebooks the glossary at the end of this work would
have been at least six times as long as it is. But many dubious
applications would have been included and the value of the name as a
check on identification would have been lost.
No new European names have been coined. Those given are in
general use either in Uganda or in other parts of Africa.
The Trade Names for timbers are those recommended by the Empire
Forestry Association in the 'Empire Forestry Handbook', 1938.
The distribution of each species is shown by listing the administrative
districts in which it is known to occur. The type of country
which the plant frequents within the District is indicated in
All Districts are shown on the map.
Our knowledge of the species, occurring in certain areas is still
lamentably scanty, especially so as regards Mubende, Bugwere and
Budama Districts where little botanical collecting has been done.