NWU Botanical Garden
NWU Botanical Garden, The NWU Botanical Garden is managed by the School of Biological Sciences of the North-West University and is a member of BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International). The Botanical Garden fulfils many important functions within the School for Biological Sciences and the local communities. Key activities of the NWU Botanical Garden include:
• Provision of practical material for the training of students
• Conservation of rare and endangered plants
• Research and research support
• Education in the local communities about relevant environmental issues
The origin of the NWU Botanical Garden dates back to 1962 when Dr. W.J. Louw, a Botany lecturer, developed the garden to supply plant material for Botany practicals. With the arrival of Dr. D.J. Botha, a Botany lecturer in Taxonomy, in 1971 the impetus came to develop a botanical garden. During the 1970’s the Botanical Garden flourished under the supervision of Mr. B. Ubbink, the first curator. On 24 November 1982 the Botanical Garden was officially opened to the public by Dr. W.J. Louw. The Botanical Garden is currently enjoying a big resurgence and is definitely worth visiting.
Garden and Climate
The Botanical Garden is situated adjacent to the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University. It covers an area of almost 3 hectares. Most of the plants in the Botanical Garden are indigenous with the exception of a few exotic plants which are of botanical, medicinal or educational importance. A section of the garden, around a man-made rocky-ridge, is managed as a natural field garden while the rest of the garden is more intensively managed. A variety of mammals, birds, amphibians and fish made the garden their home in recent years providing a whole new dimension to the Botanical Garden.
Potchefstroom is located in a lower lying area along the Mooi River, in the Highveld region of South Africa. The region is characterised by cold dry winters with frequent frost and hot summers with regular thundershowers. The average rainfall is 767 millimetres a year. As a result of cold air settling in this lower lying area temperatures as low as minus 10 °C have been recorded in the Botanical Garden during winter. This extreme climate has a great influence on the variety of plant species that can be successfully grown in the garden.
About the garden
Even thought the NWU Botanical Garden spans less than three hectares, more than a 1500 plant species and a variety of animals and insects can be found in this garden. Most of the plants in the Botanical Garden are indigenous with the exception of a few exotic plants which are of botanical or educational value. A section of the garden, around a man-made ridge, is managed as a natural veld garden while the rest of the garden is more intensively managed. A variety of theme gardens make up the rest of the NWU Botanical Garden, including the Swamp Garden, Vlei Garden, Formal Indigenous Garden, Invader Display, Evolution Garden and Succulent Rockery.
The plant collections in the Botanical Garden are mainly focused on indigenous plants from the North-West Province as well as plants used for research and educational purposes. A few plant genera represented in the garden include Acacia, Aloe, Bonatea, Crinum, Dierama, Encephalartos, Eucomis, Eulophia, Euphorbia, Gasteria, Haworthia, Hypoxis, Kniphofia, Plectranthus, Podocarpus, Scadoxus and Zantedeschia to mention but a few.
No index seminum is currently available. Institutions are however welcome to inquire about the availability of seed.
List of indigenous plants ideal for Potchefstroom
List of hardy plants for Potchefstroom
Birds found in the NWU Botanical Garden
Bird list of the NWU Botanical Garden, Potchefstroom
Mondays to Fridays: 8:00-16:30 (Summer), 8:00-16:00 (Winter)
Entrance free (No groups without prior arrangement)