Know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa's indigenous plants

Location: Free State, South Africa

Free State Branch


The Free State Branch was formed in 1969 shortly after the official opening of the Free State National Botanical Garden (FSNBG). The branch, which now has over 80 members, has assisted with the garden’s development ever since, via fundraisers such as plant sales, contributing to the construction of facilities such as the Education Centre, and running the popular Sunday concerts in the garden.

About the branch

Activities include talks on indigenous plants and gardening, organised hikes and guided walks and outings in the FSNBG and to the grasslands and other interesting areas, and environmental education programmes and projects that focus on youth and community.

About the Area

The Free State landscape is comprised of picturesque valleys surrounded by dolerite koppies (small hills) featuring grassland, woodland, and the bulbs and succulents of the Nama Karoo. Indigenous wild grasses such as Themeda triandra (red grass), Eragrostis (lovegrasses) species and Digitaria argyrograpta (silver finger grass) grow tall and feed many of the small mammals and insects in its natural habitat.

Commonly found tree species include Vachellia karroo (sweet thorn), Olea europaea (wild olive) and Searsia lancea (karee), while its most beautiful wildflowers include Crinum bulbispermum (Orange River lily), Brunsvigia grandiflora (candelabra), Boophone disticha (poison bulb), Aloe grandidentata (bontaalwee), Aloe maculata (soap aloe) and Hypoxis hemerocallidea (star flower).

Cool Facts


The Free State Branch sponsors student memberships for the best students in Botany at the University of the Free State every year.


One of this branch’s most interesting fundraising activities is the Kei Apple Jam Project. The fruit is harvested from the Kei apple trees in the FSNBG, and then cooked into a delicious jam by members to then be sold to raise funds for the branch. A clever use of an otherwise wasted resource!


Artist Helga Streicher donated botanical illustrations featuring the flora of the Free State to the branch, and can now be purchased as a set of 8 beautiful multi-purpose cards.


Other than the FSNBG, there are many fantastic nature reserves worth a visit in the Free State, such as Gariep Dam Nature Reserve, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Koppie Dam Nature Reserve, Meiringskloof Nature Park, Sandveld Nature Reserve, and Thaba Thabo Nature Reserve.

Contact the Branch Chair

Deon Potgieter

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Contact your branch to network in the following areas:


Free State


Southern Overberg


Garden Route

KZN Coastal




KZN Inland






Open Monday to Friday 10h00 to 14h00. Closed on weekends and public holidays.

December holidays:  Office will be closed from the 25th December and reopen 1st working day of the new year

Contact Us

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