The Bolus herbarium and library

The Bolus Herbarium, established in 1865 by Harry Bolus, is the oldest functioning herbarium in South Africa. An amateur botanist and wealthy philanthropist, Bolus lived in Cape Town for a number of years during which he contributed greatly to the field of Botany by describing many new plant species. These included, of particular interest, types of South African Orchids and Ericas.

As part of an academic institution, the Herbarium’s primary function is to aid in the teaching and research of the diversity of the southern African flora, particularly that of the Cape Floristic Region. Research associated with the herbarium focuses mainly on taxonomy, systematics, biogeography and endemism.

With a collection of over a third of a million southern African specimens, it is the third largest university Herbarium in the southern Hemisphere. The collection is recognized for its superb representation of the Cape Flora and the large number of type specimens housed.

The Bolus Herbarium Library developed from its origins as a taxonomic library and now contains a comprehensive collection of works relating to South African systematic and geographical botany, as well as extensive modern literature on evolutionary biology.


Go to the Bolus Herbarium specimens on JSTOR