Schweickerdt Herbarium 




Founded in 1925, the H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium (PRU) today houses more than 110 000 plant specimens, mostly vascular plants, but also macrofungi. It is the third largest university herbarium in South Africa.

In addition to the dry collection, it also houses a large collection of liquid-preserved plant material. Collections are mainly from the Forest, Succulent Karoo, Grassland and Savanna Biomes of southern Africa, including as focal areas the Kalahari region, Pondoland, Maputaland and Sekhukhuneland. New accessions are mostly from staff and postgraduate students involved in ecological and taxonomic research.

Numerous plant identification queries from students, University staff members and the public are handled by our specialist staff.

The herbarium also serves as a repository for voucher specimens of plants used in research.

The National Herbarium (PRE) and KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium (NH) and Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, amongst others, assist with plant identifications.

The herbarium is partly computerized and currently uses the BRAHMS hebarium management programme. A small specialist library containing plant identification literature and an extensive collection of maps is available.


Herbarium projects form part of several second and third year, as well as honours practicals in Plant Science and Zoology & Entomology (ZEN 364). The students are given specific projects to do in the herbarium. Herbarium specimens of selected taxa are examined to demonstrate the information value of such material. Students must know how to use an herbarium and how to prepare and submit herbarium specimens for identification.

The herbarium is also used by post graduate students, particularly those in phytosociology, taxonomy, phytomedicine and wildlife management. Students must attempt to identify material collected during fieldwork themselves.

Herbarium specimens are regularly requested on loan by taxonomic researchers working at institutions from all parts of the world.The herbarium provides active support for a large number of research projects/themes. 

The herbarium provides active support for a large number of research projects. Some of these are (details available on request):

  • Synecology/syntaxonomy/phytosociology/vegetation dynamics of the following focal areas: Pondoland; Maputaland; Sekhukhuneland; Kaokoveld (Namibia); Namaqualand and southern Kalahari; Association between plant geographical patterns and geology; A subcontinental survey of obligate cliff-plants or cremnophytes (notably succulents).

  • Taxonomy/palynology/chemistry/anatomy/floristics/biogeography/revisions of the following groups: Acacia (subgenus Acacia, Mimosaceae); Aloe (Asphodelaceae); Commiphora (Burseraceae); Elephantorrhiza (Mimosaceae); Hypoxis (Hypoxidaceae); Myrtaceae; Celastraceae (mainly Gymnosporia); Boraginaceae; Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae); selected macrofungi (Gasteromycetes); flora of Sekhukhuneland, Pondoland and Maputaland; tree flora of southern Africa (illustrated field guides to the trees of southern Africa); illustrated field guides to wild flower identification; a quantitative analyses of the southern African flora to elucidate biogeographical patterns.

  • Plant utilization and indigenous plant knowledge: Provide taxonomic support for numerous research projects in the medicinal plant science section of the Department; indigenous plants used by the Vhavenda for ethnoveterinary purposes; a dictionary of common names of southern African trees in 31 local languages.

UP Departments/Units other than Plant Science that frequently make use of the Herbarium:

Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)
Department of Paraclinical Sciences (Onderstepoort)
Phytomedicine Laboratory
Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology Laboratory
Department of Zoology and Entomology
Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology
Department of Plant Production and Soil Science

Department of Animal and Wildlife Science
Department of Architecture (Landscape Architecture)
Manie van der Schijff Botanical Garden


The H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium is situated on the ground floor of the Plant Sciences Complex, University of Pretoria Main Campus.

Staff Members 


Dr. Kenneth Oberlander
Office: Plant Sciences Complex 2-29
Tel: +27 (0)12 420 2545
E-Mail: kenneth.oberlander_at_up.ac.za
Technical Assistants


Ms Sinethemba Ntshangase
Office: Plant Sciences Complex  2-31
Tel: +27 (0)12 420 2628
E-Mail: sinethemba.ntshangase_at_up.ac.za



  • Mr. W. Swanepoel (Windhoek)


Below please find an article on the Herbarium published in Tukkie magazine in 2010.


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