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).
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
Latest Branch News
Locate your Branch
Monday to Friday 08h30 to 16h00. Closed on weekends and public holidays.
T +27 (0) 21 797 2090
F +27 (0) 21 797 2376
Or contact us by sending a Whatsapp message to +27 65 922 6163 during our office hours.