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New book to help Kenya conserve flora

By EDITH MUTETHYA in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2023-09-26 07:19

Flora of Kenya's editors-in-chief Wang Qingfeng (left) and Geoffrey Mwachala (right), and Mary Gikungu, director-general of the National Museums of Kenya, unveil Flora of Kenya at the book launch in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday. XIE SONGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Researchers from Kenya and China launched a book on Monday that will greatly help in the conservation of flora in Kenya.

Flora of Kenya is the result of fruitful scientific cooperation between Chinese and Kenyan researchers, detailing the Rubiaceae juss, which has a huge diversity ranging from weedy herbs to massive rainforest trees with a large array of flower types and pollinators.

At the book launch, Mary Gikungu, director-general of the National Museums of Kenya, said most of the species described in the book are of socioeconomic value to society.

Readers will benefit and interact with plants commonly used in medicine, food and timber value chains, in addition to their underlying ecological significance, she said.

"Flora is an important research tool in taxonomy, especially by enhancing understanding of plant identity and their relationships," she said. "Similarly, flora is an important resource for students and researchers, providing in-depth geographical floristic knowledge."

Gikungu also said China has greatly contributed to the conservation of Kenya's biodiversity and the animals.

Liu Weidong, director-general of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the book is one of the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center's great achievements, and it will provide basic information and scientific basis for the production and sustainable use of plant diversity in Kenya and East Africa.

Wang Qingfeng, director of the Wuhan Botanical Garden and main author of Flora of Kenya, said the publication includes color photos to facilitate plant identification. It is also based on comprehensive field collection, he said.

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