Herbarium Objectives and Tasks


The Southern Cape Herbarium aims to:

  • Curate and build up the herbarium collection.
  • Establish facilities for research and education to the broadest possible spectrum of the community.
  • House and catalogue the Herbarium collections in accordance with herbaria norms worldwide.
  • Develop awareness of the flora of the region, and identify the importance of the flora to enable communities to gain a better understanding of the value of regional flora with regard to environmental health.
  • Instil a better conservation ethic in the region to the benefit of the community and the environment as a whole.


Herbarium tasks

Curating and managing the Botanical Library to be representative of the flora of the Southern Cape.

Identification of herbarium specimens by comparing dated specimens in the main herbarium and Quick Guide, searches in the literature and use of three good microscopes.

Filing and sorting of relevant cuttings of botanical and conservation interest to the area.

Digitising the complete herbarium into the PRECIS / SANBI (Computerised Information System of the South African National Biodiversity Institute) database (www.sanbi.org/) at the National Herbarium which requires a thorough knowledge of the database, as well as considerable botanical and taxonomic expertise.

Display flowering plants in bottles at the entrance to the Moriarty Centre on a regular basis so that visitors can identify these plants in the Botanical Garden.

Identification of specimens from vegetation surveys, CREW surveys, the Botanical Garden and private individuals.

Herbarium staff members and volunteers identify collected specimens for the main Herbarium and the Quick Guide.

Specimens are dried, pressed, mounted on cardboard sheets, and labelled for scientific study. Important information (description of the plant place and date of collecting, scientific name, collector's name, date and place found, altitude, habitat conditions, etc.) is included with the herbarium specimen. Specimen sheets are then stacked in groups according to the species to which they belong. Groups of species folders are then placed together into larger folders by genus. The genus folders are then sorted by taxonomic family according to the standard system selected for use in the herbarium and placed into pigeonholes in herbarium cabinets.


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