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Date of birth: 04 Apr 1925
Introduction (contributed by Bart Wursten)
One of the greatest all-round naturalists of Zimbabwe, Darrel Plowes can perhaps be considered second only to Charles Swynnerton.
He is an authority on stapeliads, orchids, butterflies, birds and bird's eggs and has published numerous articles, books and even an award-winning film. He has made numerous discoveries during his career with a number of newly described taxa named in his honour.
An avid recorder and collector, his plant specimens at the National Herbarium are among the best preserved, described and recorded, which has made our search for matching specimens a lot easier on many occasions.
He also has been an outstanding photographer throughout his career has a vast collection of excellent field photographs of nearly all the plants he has collected. The quality of his work is such that many of his photographs have been published in books magazines and journals and we are extremely grateful to him for freely making his photo collection available to our Zimbabwe Flora project.
The following biography has been kindly contributed by Darrel's son Robert Plowes
Born in Estcourt, Natal.
He matriculated at Estcourt High School in 1941, then spent a year prospecting for diamonds at Oranjemund. After serving in Italy during World War II, he completed a B.Sc degree in 1948 at Witwatersrand University in agriculture, soil conservation and ecology.
Taxonomy and ecology of Stapeliads
He has revised several major groups of stapelias, including descriptions of new genera and species (see below). His taxonomic views are informed by extensive field work in 15 countries.
Natural history interests:
Botanical collections included several new species: Dissotis pulchra, Gazacloa (new grass genus), Dierama plowesii, Aloe plowesii, Huernia plowesii, and Euphorbia clivicola. His large bird egg collection was donated to National Museums, Zimbabwe, with a new subspecies named for him (Fringillaria capensis plowesi). Other new fauna include a butterfly (Aloeides plowesi), a legless lizard (Typhlosaurus plowesi) and a mole-rat (Bathyergus janetta plowesi).
Plowes, D. C. H. (1950) The Red-billed Quelea. A problem for grain-sorghum growers. Rhodesia Agricultural Journal 47:98-101.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1956) Brush or grass: which do we want? Rhodesia Agricultural Journal 53:589-595.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1957) The seasonal variation of crude protein in twenty grasses at Matopos, Southern Rhodesia, and related observations. Rhodesia Agricultural Journal 54:33-55.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1980) The rediscovery of Trichocaulon triebneri Nel. Asclepiadaceae 21:23-26.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1986) Aloe inconspicua, a new species from Natal. Aloe 23:32-33.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1989a) Succulents in Botswana. Excelsa 14:85-93.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1989b) The succulents of Sudan. Excelsa 14:57-69.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1990a) An introduction to Stapeliad genera. Cactus and Succulent Journal 62:111-129.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1990b) Visit to north Yemen in November 1989. Ingens Bulletin 2:4-9.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1992) A preliminary re-assessment of the genera Hoodia and Trichocaulon (Stapelieae: Asclepiadaceae). Asklepios 56:5-15.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1993a) Anomalluma Plowes: a new generic name for Caralluma dodsoniana Lavranos (Stapelieae: Asclepiadaceae). Cactus and Succulent Journal 65:167-168.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1993b) A new account of Echidnopsis Hook. f. (Asclepiadaceae-Stapelieae). Haseltonia 1:65-85.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1993c) The taxonomy of Quaqua NE Brown. Excelsa Taxonomic Series
Plowes, D. C. H. (1993d) Two new stapeliads from Namibia and variation in Hoodia gordonii. British Cactus and Succulent Journal 11:56-59.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1994) The taxonomy of the genera Pachycymbium Leach and Angolluma Munster (Stapelieae, Asclepiadaceae). Excelsa 16: 103-123.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1995) A reclassification of Caralluma R.Brown (Stapelieae: Asclepiadaceae). Haseltonia 3:49-70.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1996a) The nomenclatural status and typification of Desmidorchis Ehrenberg. Excelsa 17: 69-78.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1996b) The delineation of genera in the stapeliads. Aloe 33:34 - 40.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1996c) The distribution of succulent flora adjacent to the Red Sea. Aloe 33:67 - 70.
Plowes, D. C. H. (1996d) Larryleachia and Hoodia (Stapelieae: Asclepiadaceaea): Some new nomenclatural proposals. Excelsa 17:3 - 28.
Plowes, D. C. H. (2003) An examination of Stapeliopsis Pillans, Pectinaria Haw. and Ophionella Bruyns: Ceropegieae (Asclepiadoideae). Excelsa 20:1-20.
Plowes, D. C. H. (2007a) Caralluma darfurensis Plowes sp. nov. Excelsa 21: 7-10.
Plowes, D. C. H. (2007b) Two new stapeliads from Yemen. Excelsa 21: 9-14.
Plowes, D. C. H. (2008) The stapeliads of Senegal. CactusWorld, in press.
Books and reports
Plowes, D. C. H., and Drummond, R. B. (1976) Wild Flowers of Rhodesia. Longman, Harare.
Keith, J. O., and Plowes, D. C. H. (1997) Considerations of wildlife resources and land use in Chad. Office of Sustainable Development, USAID, Washington DC.
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