The Herbarium houses Gerhard Kirsten's
collection of Erica specimens, his collection of reference books and Erica
keys. After his death, his collection and notes were donated to the herbarium
of the Botanical Society in George in the Southern Cape.
G P K Kirsten (24
April 1931 - 21 March 2000) was a passionate amateur botanist who concentrated
on the Erica species. As soon as possible after his collection trips, he
pressed the specimens, mounted them on light cardboard, and then documented
them. In this way, he built up a considerable collection of Erica specimens,
taken from their natural habitat.
He teamed up with Mr
Dolf Schumann who also had an interest in the Erica species and wanted to
create a photographic record of all the South African species to co-author book
on Ericas in collaboration with Ted Oliver. They eventually collected enough
material to be able to publish “Ericas of South Africa” - the most
comprehensive illustrated work on the genus.
Gerhard was very pleased with his discoveries of long lost
species - Erica ixanthera and E. botryoides, both last seen in the early 1800s.
Erica kirstenii and E. gerhardii from near Hermanus were named after him. Erica
amicorum, a new species discovered by Gerhard and Dolf, was named after their