The Bolus Herbarium collection is housed in modern premises in steel cabinets in the Botany Department at U.C.T. The herbarium is rich in Types, especially of the Cape Flora.
While the herbarium is well curated, only a small proportion of the collection is computer data-based. A specialist herbarium of the Cape Peninsula has been developed for use as a teaching and a quick identification guide.
Particularly important collections are: Algae, Lichens, Mosses, Ferns, Grasses, Restios, Orchids, Oxalis, Rutaceae, Muraltia, Ericas, Apocynaceae (Asclepiadoidae), Aizoaceae (Mesembryanthemoidae), Western Cape High Mountain Flora and Southern Cape Flora.
Databasing takes place on an ad hoc basis. As taxa are revised by staff and students, all the material in the collection pertaining to the taxon in question is databased. Furthermore, all material that has been requested as a loan, since 1995, has been databased prior to being dispatched.
The following taxa have been databased in their entirety:
It is likely that when Harry Bolus first became interested in South African flora in 1865, Thunberg's Flora Capensis and the first two volumes of Harvey and Sonder's Flora Capensis and perhaps Harvey's Genera of South African plants were all that were available to him.
Today, the Bolus Library contains a great wealth of early botanical works by early travellers who visited southern Africa. Commelin's Horti Medici Amstelodamensis, published in 1697 and 1701, contains descriptions and illustrations of Cape plants taken back to Holland from southern Africa.
Bolus also obtained books from Europe through C. Louis Leipoldt, whose medical studies he sponsored in London. In 1946, Louis Leipoldt's library was bequeathed to the Bolus Herbarium, and in 1950 another valuable bequest was received - General J.C. Smuts’ botanical library and part of his herbarium collection.
Henri Fourcade's herbarium, library and money (originally destined for the Royal Society) were left to the Bolus Herbarium in 1948, making it possible to continue building up this great library with historical and modern botanical literature. The Fourcade Bequest also enables the herbarium to publish its journal Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium.