South Africa boasts of more than 20 000 plant species; we have spectacular landscapes, and a scientific community committed to conserving our environment for current and future generations. Our botanical wealth is a rich source of medicines, and together with a strong agricultural sector, research in these fields has an exciting future.
The Department of Plant and Soils Science is an entity formed out of the merger of the Departments of Plant Science and Plant Production and Soil Science. With over 30 academic staff, the department has a committed team of staff who aim to provide the very best undergraduate and postgraduate education in the broad arena of Plant Sciences, including plant taxonomy, ecology, medicinal plant science, biotechnology, agronomy, plant pathology, horticulture and soil science. In addition, staff carry out locally relevant but internationally competitive research in these fields, and several staff are leaders in these fields.
The department also co-hosts the DTS-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security as well as the SAFCOL Forest Chair and Director of the Forest Programme. In addition, several staff are affiliated with the Forest and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI).
We are housed in a two buildings on the Hatfield Campus; the recently constructed Plant Sciences Complex, which is built with pioneering “green” architecture and state-of-the-art research facilities, and the Agricultural Building with associated labs and greenhouse facilities. The Department also has substantial plant growth and field trial facilities on the Hatfield Experimental Farm.
The Department has a rich botanical history stretching back to the founding years of the University of Pretoria in the early 1900s. Part of this legacy is the HGWJ Schweickerdt Herbarium, which houses more than 110 000 botanical specimens, and is a rich resource used by local and international botanical scientists. The Manie van der Schijff Botanical Garden is the “living laboratory” of the Department with more than 4 000 indigenous species in the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria. It is world famous for its cycad collection, and plays a critical role in the conservation of rare species of this South African icon.
We invite you to leaf through our web pages, to discover our world of plants and what it can do for you, whether you are an aspiring student, a fellow scientist, or a curious visitor.