The authors

William (Bill) Liltved (1960– )

Bill Liltved was born in Basel, Switzerland, of South African and Norwegian parentage. His passion for natural history studies developed at an early age when he became devoted to making collections of natural history specimens and stone artefacts. These interests rapidly diversified to include a particular fascination for marine biology, archaeology, palaeontology and maritime history. Enchantment with the sea and its creatures would ultimately result in years of exhaustive research on the southern African marine Mollusca, culminating in the publication of numerous scientific papers and his regional monograph, Cowries and their relatives of southern Africa (1989, 2000).

After completing high school, Bill was employed at the South African Museum in Cape Town (1979–1984), and later worked at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco (1985–1989). Periods spent at these institutions proved invaluable to his scholastic development, as there he was coached and influenced by various renowned authorities in the natural sciences.

After returning to South Africa in late 1989, his interests expanded to include aspects of the Cape flora, particularly orchids and amaryllids. Apart from Cape orchids, he is documenting the amaryllid genus Gethyllis, commonly known as ‘kukumakranka’.

Bill is a research associate of the Compton Herbarium at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town. He lives on the Cape Peninsula and has a wide range of interests including surf-ski paddling, music, gardening and books. He has spent the past twenty-one years researching and collating material for this book and other botanical projects.

Steven Johnson (1967– )

Steve Johnson is a professor of Botany at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg and also holds the South African Research Chair in Evolutionary Biology. His PhD was obtained from the University of Cape Town and was followed by a stint as the Smuts Fellow in Botany at the same institution and two postdoctoral positions abroad. He has published extensively on the systematics, ecology and pollination biology of Cape orchids, including over 180 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and several contributions to books, including Genera Orchidacearum and Orchids of Southern Africa. In addition, he has been a frequent contributor to botanical magazines aimed at the general public. With Anton Pauw he authored the prizewinning bestseller Table Mountain: A Natural History (1999). He has received numerous accolades for his scientific work including the SAAB medal for best PhD thesis in botany (1995), the Young Scientist Award (1995), National Research Foundation's President's Award (1998) and University of Natal Vice-Chancellor's Research Award (2002). Steven has had a life-long interest in natural history and is an accomplished photographer, with his close-up images of flowers and their pollinators having appeared in many of the world's wildlife and science periodicals, including National Geographic, Natural History, Discover, BBC-Wildlife and Science News. Steve is also an avid mountaineer and in the preparation for this book, accompanied Bill Liltved on many expeditions in the Cape Floristic Region.