zondag 26 mei 2013

Plants in & near Amsterdam

The backcover to mr. Joh. Bolman's 'Wild plants in and around Amsteram' (1976) informs us that at least half of the 650 native Dutch plant occurring outside nature reserves can be found in Amsterdam. The people of Amsterdam have always been fond of bragging about the biological richness of their city. Mr Bolman writes with the flamboyancy of an Austrian border-guard but he makes up for it with geeked-out precision. Each of the ten chapters deal with a specific family of plants or environmental condition and because of the detailed descriptions he has made it easy for the reader to go out and find specific communities of plants or even individual plants. He mentions for instance a common mallow for years growing behind the fence of the bicycle parking on the West side of the Amsterdam central, I am severely tempted to jump in a train to check if it's still there. The information in this book is very time-specific (summer 1975) but Bolman often refers to the 1852 'Flora Amstelaedamensis' to illustrate changes in the flora and he also relates plants to all sorts of man-made changes in the landscape. This is an old-fashioned book that is brimful with information. It also shows that urban botany also concerns itself with urban history in the most broadest sense.

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