Original Research

The botanic garden in a changing world

H. B. Rycroft
Bothalia | Vol 14, No 3/4 | a1194 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v14i3/4.1194 | © 1983 H. B. Rycroft | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 November 1983 | Published: 06 November 1983

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Abstract

The paper deals with the development of the National Botanic Gardens of South Africa at Kirstenbosch in the Cape. This garden made history by concentrating exclusively on the flora of its own country. A series of regional gardens have also been established to display and cultivate local floras.

Internationally there has been a growing awareness of the necessity for conservation of natural resources. We have been in the forefront in conserving our vegetation, and in creating a ‘gene’ bank of indigenous plants.

Large numbers of species are introduced into our gardens, where they are cultivated, studied, displayed, and their place in the flora determined. But this is only the beginning.

Plants and vegetation must be evaluated within the total concept of the biological and physical milieu.

Research, into the taxonomy and cultivation of horticulturally promising taxa is undertaken and should be intensified. Botanic gardens are people-orientated and the information on nature available must be disseminated. The next stage in the development of our botanic gardens is the development of an education section.

The time has also come to consider the development of a parallel system of regional exotic botanic gardens to complement the present indigenous gardens. Such a development would be complementary to the original concept and not in competition. The South African flora will remain the most important subject in the N.B.G., but South Africans must also have the opportunity to learn about other floras.


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