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African Botanic Gardens Network Bulletin 9

EDITION No. 9 November 2004


  • News from Durban Botanic Gardens Christopher Dalzell
  • News from BGCI – London Douglas Gibbs
  • News from South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens Christopher Willis
  • Celebratory News for Aburi Botanic Gardens George Owusu-Afriyie
  • News from Osunpoly Botanic Gardens Adeniyi A Jayeola
  • Brackenhurst Highland Arboretum Mark Nicholson

Greetings – welcome to the 2nd edition of our bulletin for 2004. To those of you who sent in your contribution, thank you.

News from Christopher Dalzell – Durban Botanic Gardens

East Africa

I have recently returned from a 3 week visit to 4 countries in East Africa to assist the African Botanic Gardens Network research the Botanic Gardens that exist in the Eastern Regions of East Africa. The countries visited where Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The trip was very kindly funded by our friends in the USA, Christopher Davidson and Sharon Christoph who also came along to assist with the research and photography. I met Chris and Sharon at Johannesburg International Airport and left for Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday 26 June. We where met by Mark Nicholson in Nairobi who we had met at the World Botanic Gardens Congress in Barcelona in April this year. Mark has lived in East Africa for most of his life and would to be our host for the next 3 weeks. Mark is also developing a new Botanic Gardens and Arboretum in Limiru at the Brackenhurst Baptist Retreat which is in the tea growing area about 20km outside Nairobi. Over the next 3 weeks we where to drive and fly over 3000km to all 4 countries to visit as many Botanic Gardens that exist in these countries. We left Nairobi on Sunday 27 June and drove south to Tanzania to Arusha which lies in the Northern region of Tanzania. The National Museum in Arusha have plans to develop a new Botanic Gardens that lies adjacent to the Museum and along a river course. We walked the entire area where they envisage the garden being built and found it close to the City and ideally suited for its soil and layout. What they need now is the support of the City to help them fund the garden. This project is the brainchild of Felista Mangalu who attended the first African Botanic Gardens Congress in Durban in November 2002. We will do our best to help find funding for the Master Plan to be implemented and for Felista’s dream to become a reality.

We then drove South East along the Usambaris Mountain Range to Amani which lies in the mountains very close to the coast. Along the route we stopped for lots of photographs of Adansonia digitata [Baobab], and a palm called Hyphaene compressa which I collected some seed of for the Durban Bot Gdns. The flora of this region is quite magnificent with lots of Aloes and Euphorbias along the road. The road to Amani once you get off the tar road is dust and not a great road for about 40km’s. It had been raining which made it even more fun. Arriving at the Amani Nature reserve we stayed in very simple accommodation but comfortable. It rained for most of the next 2 days which included a power failure for most of the time we where there to add to the fun of travelling. We met with the Conservator of the Amani Nature Reserve, Corodius Sawe who gave us a brief history of the Amani Botanic Gardens that existed within the Nature Reserve. Amani Gardens where established in the early 1900’s to grow economic crops. At one stage it was the largest Botanic Gardens in Africa covering and area of over 370 hectares. Soon the timber companies moved in and the gardens fell into a state of decline. Today access of course is a huge disadvantage but has large economic trees and indigenous forest that make up the garden. We where promised information to be sent to Dar Es Salaam for us but where later to find it had not been sent.

We travelled back on the same route to Arusha then back to Nairobi for a visit to the Nairobi Arboretum. Here is a garden that sadly has been caught in a political turmoil as the City can’t decide who is to manage the garden. Today it is managed by the Forestry Department but they are not the right organization to manage the Arboretum. Luckily they have the Friends of the Nairobi Arboretum started by Anne Birnie who assist raise funds for its maintenance. The Arboretum is 30ha of wooded landscape close to the city centre. It is one of Nairobi’s few remaining green spaces with shaded walkways, picnic lawns and jogging trails. The Arboretum was started in 1907 to introduce timber trees to Kenya. It now holds 350 species of trees and home to over 100 bird species.

Our travels then took us to the Western region of Kenya through the Great Rift Valley. This region is home to some of the largest Rose growers in the world due to its climate, Altitude and water. We spent the night near the Koru National Park on a dairy farm belonging to the Brooke family. They have also planted an Arboretum of the trees endemic to that region of Kenya. We then travelled through Kisumu which is the second largest city in Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria to the Maseno University Botanic Garden which is run by Prof John Onyango. This garden was started 3 years ago and is 5 Acres in size with 40 different species of trees. They have planted lots of exotics which is unfortunate but through the help of the Brooke Bond Tea Company they will be assisted to plant more indigenous trees. We hope this garden will be turned into an Education and Conservation garden for Western Kenya. They also grow indigenous economic crops which is an interesting concept in working with the communities. We soon crossed over the Equator and the border post at Busia into Uganda. Immediately you find less litter, less destruction of the forests and some order into the land. We don’t need to cast our minds back that far to the time of Idi Amin to remember what happened to this poor country. We arrived in Kampala and met with Rose Badaza from the local University Garden. Rose is presently at Kew Gardens completing a 2 month Botanic Gardens Management Program which will help her and Uganda in years to come. The following day we left for Fort Portal which is in Western Uganda to visit the Kibale National Park to see one of the last remaining populations of indigenous forest in Uganda and one of the last remaining populations of Chimpanzees. We where very lucky to see a large troop who seem very happy in there natural environment with lots of fig trees to keep them happy. Kibale National Park has 13 species of primates, 325 species of birds, 250 species of butterflies, 250 species of trees and over 1420 Chimpanzees in 14 communities. The reserve is 795 sq km’s. The only downside of going to Fort Portal is the road which is shocking. They are in the process of improving the road.

From Fort Portal we travelled back along this bad road to Entebbe to visit 2 gardens. The first was the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre which is run by a non profit organization. Other than being a zoo it has a medicinal garden very similar to what we are planning to do on the Juventus ground. We where taken on a tour by Sam Ssozi who is in charge of the Medicinal garden. You talk about enthusiasm and knowledge well he has that plus more. I wish we could find more people like him in East Africa. We need to hook him up with Silverglen Medicinal Nursery in Chatsworth. The other garden we visited was the Entebbe Botanic Garden. I had heard conflicting reports about this garden but where we in for a pleasant surprise. Situated on the Banks of Lake Victoria this garden established over 100 years ago has it all. Large trees, good pathways, machinery, water and most unbelievable views of the lake. John Wasswa is the Curator who sadly did not have much info for us as many of the records had been destroyed during all the conflicts in Uganda. This has been the story sadly throughout East Africa. Very few records on the gardens. The great news is that it has history and has collections so we have something to work with. We left Entebbe and stopped in Jinja on the banks of the Nile and had drinks at a Country Club that I am sure could tell a few stories. Sadly this club was in a shambles as well as the Golf course but it did not stop them charging us to have drinks there. We left Uganda with happy memories and headed for Kakamega forest in Kenya and stayed at a place called Rondo Retreat. This beautiful accommodation was built in the 1920’s as a saw miller’s residence which is now owned by a church group. Very comfortable, great food, situated in the forest so easy access to see tons of plants and all in all a very relaxing place to stay. We spent 2 nights here which was a wonderful break from all the travelling we had been doing. For you birders out there this would be described as heaven for you. This is the only other place other than Mt Elgon where you can find the rare De Brazza Monkey. There are over 330 species of birds including the Casqued Hornbill, Ross’s Turaco and the great blue Turaco. There are over 400 species of butterflies and of course lots of wild flowers.

We left Kakamega Forest and headed for the Brooke Bond Tea company in Kericho which is owned by Unilever. This tea company in the past 3 years has planted over 135 000 trees on there grounds as well as within the community. They have created an Arboretum that is so impressive that I was bold over by what I saw. I just wish more companies would do the same. Urban greening is what it is all about. The company realized that the indigenous forests controlled the rainfall and climate in the region and if the forests where to disappear then so does there tea production and 18000 jobs. They have a team of very dedicated staff who work in the nurseries and who ensure the trees are planted. We then travelled to Egerton University which has in the past 3 years started to build a Botanic Gardens connected to the Botany Department of the University. All in all 20 Hectares have been developed with a further 200 hectares set aside for natural areas and trails. The Brooke Bond Tea Company have donated 40 000 trees to the Campus which will assist with its beautification. It was then back to Nairobi for a few days where we visited the Nairobi Botanic Gardens run by William Wambugu who heads up the East African Network. The Nairobi garden is about 6 ha in size and is part of the National Museum in Kenya. A lot of work is needed at this garden as it is the premier garden in Nairobi. Lots of potential like so many gardens but when you don’t have a lawn mower life is difficult.

We left Kenya and flew to Addis Abbaba in Ethiopia. We where hoping to find a garden here but to no avail. They do have plans to build one and have identified a site but now money is required. We did meet a professor at the Herbarium who will be responsible for its development so we will keep in touch with him. We then spent the next 2 days driving to the southern part of Ethiopia to see the country side which was very interesting but very degraded through over harvesting and overgrazing. Ethiopia is a country worth visiting to such places as the Bale Mountains but you need time and patience. We then flew down to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania to visit the Botanic Gardens in Dar which is run by the City. Once again lots of potential as it is small but they need direction with staffing, collection policies and maintenance. Our last stop was to Zanzibar for 2 days to visit the gardens at Mbweni which where started by Sir John Kirk who was the Surgeon General for David Livingstone’s expedition in East Africa. The gardens are now owned by the President of Zanzibar and his daughter was getting married that day so we where refused entry to the gardens. We hope to get some info on the garden in the near future. We did take a day trip down to Paje which is on the east coast as well as Jozani Fores which is the last remaining so called indigenous forest on Zanzibar. As we got there so the heaven opened up but we still managed to see some plants. We also saw large population of Encepalartos hildebrandtii which is a cycad endemic to Zanzibar and Tanzania. It was sad to see the amount of plants that have been dug up and burnt for the planting of pine trees.

All in all this was a very successful 3 weeks in East Africa. I did take some fantastic digital photos and will be happy to give a talk to you members of the gardens. My thanks once again to Christopher and Sharon for helping with all aspects of the trip and for being such great travel buddies and to Mark Nicholson for his insight into east Africa, his contacts and his knowledge of the birds, flora and people of this region. How many of you know someone who speaks so many languages. English, Swahili and whatever they talk in Ethiopia which is lots of funny sounds. My knowledge of Swahili are Jambo Habari, Santi sana and Kwa Heri which means hallo, thank you and goodbye.

Below is a Contact Address list for East Africa - for those who are interested:


1. Nairobi Botanic Gardens
Contact Person William Wambugu
Address: Nairobi Botanic Gardens, P.O.Box 40658, 00100-GPO Nairobi, Kenya. Fax: 09254 20 3741424

2. Brackenhurst Botanic gardens
Contact person - Mark Nicholson
Address: Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens, P.O.Box 16526, Nairobi, or Plants for Life International, P.O.Box 16526, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: 254 66 73007 Cell: 254 733 995478,

3. Egerton University Botanic Garden
Contact Person - Samuel T. Kariuki
Address: Egerton University, P.O. Box 536, Njoro, Kenya. Tel: 0722 922454

4. Maseno University Botanic Garden
Contact Person - Prof. John C. Onyango
Address: University Botanic Garden, P.O.Private Bag Maseno, Kenya Tel: 254- 57- 351620/2 Ext. 3138 Fax: 254- 57- 351221 or 351179,

5. Unilever Tea Kenya
Contact person - John T.A. Cheruiyot
Address: P.O. Box 20, Kericho, Kenya. Tel: 052-31367 Mobile: 073 3750535/ 072 0738639,

6. Nairobi Arboretum
Contact Person - Ann Birnie
Address: FONA/Nature Kenya, P.O. Box 44486, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: 3746090 / 3749957 Fax: 3741049,


1. Amani Nature Reserve
Contact Person - Corodius T. Sawe
Address: Amani Nature Reserve, P.O. Box 1, Amani, Tanzania. Tel: +255 53 43453 Fax: +255 53 43820, Cell: +255 272640313,

2. Arusha Botanic Garden
Contact Person - Felista Mangalu
Address: Arusha Botanic Garden, Curator, National Natural History Museum, P.O. Box 2160, Arusha, Tanzania, Tel: 250 7540 Cell: 0744 667422,

3. Karamjee Botanic Garden
Contact Person - John Lubuva and Nyambarya J. Kitonge
Address: Karamjee Botanic Garden, Alala Municipal Council, P.O.Box 20950, Dar Es Salaam, Tel: + 22 255 2128800/5


1. Entebbe Botanic Gardens
Contact Person - John Mulumba Wasswa
Address: Entebbe Botanic Gardens, P.O. Box 295, Entebbe, Uganda, Tel: 256 041 320638 Fax: 256 041 321070,

2. Makerere University
Contact Person - Rose Badaza
Address: Botany Department, Makerere University, P.0. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda

3. Uganda Wildlife Education Centre
Contact Person - Thomas Otim
Address: Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, P.O. Box 369, Entebbe, Uganda, Tel: 41 320 073/320 520 Fax: 041 320073,

From Douglas Gibbs, BGCI – London

Investing in Nature – Africa Programme

BGCI is pleased to announce the launch of a new programme for African Botanic Gardens. Funded by the Investing in Nature1 partnership, the programme aims to assist botanic gardens in Africa to implement aspects of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation.
Through its new programme for Africa, BGCI will be working with ABGN to strengthen conservation and education programmes in African botanic gardens, carry out a survey of threatened plants in cultivation in African botanic gardens and raise awareness of the importance of African botanic gardens through the establishment of the BGCI-Africa website. The website will where ever possible work towards making available resources and information that African botanic gardens require in order to develop and strengthen their own capacities.

1 Investing in Nature is a US$50 million, five-year environmental partnership funded by HSBC, working with Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Earthwatch and WWF. For more information visit:

African Small Grants Programme

After a great deal of interest, five African gardens have been awarded small grants in the first round of the Investing in Nature – African Small Grants Programme. The five awards will go towards projects working on focused plant conservation and the restoration and rehabilitation of threatened plants across Africa.

Following the success of the first round of the African Small Grants Programme, a second round will be held in 2005. For further details of the 2004 awards and information about the second round, please contact or visit

Africa Online –

BGCI and the African Botanic Gardens Network (ABGN) are pleased to announce the launch of a website dedicated to promoting and supporting the work of botanic gardens across Africa.

The website, which forms part of the ABGN Action Plan and the Investing in Nature – Africa programme, contains news, garden profiles, ABGN Bulletin, articles, resources and tools.

BGCI would like to hear from all African botanic gardens and from anyone working with African botanic gardens, in order to maintain BGCI-Africa Online as the comprehensive international guide to and resource for African botanic gardens.

If you are interested in submitting a garden profile to be included on the website, or have ideas, comments and contributions to website please contact

50 Africa International Agenda Registrations

The International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation was launched in 2002 in response to the urgent threat of plant extinction and has been included as a major contribution to the achievement of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. The Agenda provides a global framework for botanic garden policies, programmes and priorities in biodiversity conservation and is relevant to all botanic gardens irrespective of their size.

In 2002, BGCI launched a free non-binding registration process to enable gardens to register their commitment to plant conservation. Registered gardens receive an International Agenda plaque and resource pack.
The ABGN is part of a growing group of 50 African botanic gardens and networks who have committed themselves to the implementation of the International Agenda. As a result Africa has the highest number of International Agenda registrations (as a proportion of the total number of gardens in the region) when compared to the other global regions - Europe, Asia, Americas, and Australasia.

The current list of International Agenda registrants can be found at If your garden would like to register your commitment to plant conservation by signing the International Agenda, then please contact or visit for further details.

BGCI Membership Sponsorship Programme

If your botanic garden is in a Low Income country (according to the World Bank classification - please check BGCI Africa website) and you are interested in becoming a BGCI member but are financially unable, BGCI is now running a sponsorship programme to try to assist. Support is being sought from more developed gardens to help you get the benefits of BGCI membership for up to three years.

To find out more about this programme please check BGCI Africa Online at or contact BGCI-Africa Programme, by email at or by post to: BGCI-Africa, 199 Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3BW, UK

Plant – Janet Marinelli

A new reference book on plants by Janet Marinelli, simply called Plant, has been published providing a new key resource for botanic gardens, environment education departments, horticulturalists and those interested in plants.

An unadulterated celebration of the world's flora, Plant offers more than just a gardening guide, taking an important look at the role of plants in the biological diversity of our planet, ecological problems and conservation on a global scale.

Features: an extensive plant encyclopaedia (over 2,000 entries) of threatened plants from conifers and climbers to orchids and carnivorous plants, global guide to invasive plants, guide to global habitats, an introduction to the world of plants.

Plant has been endorsed by BGCI and supported by leading botanic gardens worldwide. Royalties from sales will help to save plants through Kew Gardens and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

From Christopher Willis – National Botanical Gardens – South Africa –
November 2004

Transition from NBI to SANBI

As from 1 September 2004, with the promulgation of South Africa’s new National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2003, the National Botanical Institute became the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). South Africa’s NBGs, which together conserve over 1,350 ha of natural vegetation and associated biodiversity within their boundaries, will continue to be managed, controlled and maintained as part of SANBI’s broad mandate around biodiversity.

IA Progress Reviewed

Progress with the implementation of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation (IA) by South Africa’s NBGs was reviewed in early October 2004. Results from the survey indicate that on average across the eight NBGs, 53% of the activities listed in the IA are being implemented. The NBGs are considering doing 26% of the activities and not doing 21% of the listed activities. Kirstenbosch NBG, with the most advanced facilities and largest staff complement, is doing 70% of the activities, considering doing 20% and not doing 10% of the activities. This is the first time such a review has been conducted within the Institute, and was helpful for NBGs (who have each registered their commitment towards implementing the IA) to closely consider their conservation activities and how they relate to the IA. The results of this survey will serve as a benchmark for future surveys that may be conducted in each of the NBGs.

18th Curators Week, Walter Sisulu NBG

The 18th Curators Week meeting of the South African National Botanical Garden Curators was held at the Walter Sisulu NBG from 6-8 October 2004. This annual event is held every year in one of South Africa’s eight National Botanical gardens by rotation, and provides an opportunity for the Curators to share ideas, review progress and priorities for the following year. This year an opportunity was provided to other botanical gardens in southern Africa to join the SANBI Curators from 9-10 October 2004 to develop and discuss action plans linked to the 16 targets of the African Botanic Gardens Network. Gardens represented included Durban Botanic Gardens, Johannesburg Botanic Gardens, INIA Botanical Garden (Maputo, Mozambique) and the University of North-West Botanical Garden (formerly the Potchefstroom University Botanical Garden).

South Africa wins Gold Medal at 2004 Chelsea Flower Show

The Kirstenbosch, South Africa exhibit at this year’s 91st Chelsea Flower Show in London, UK, the world’s most famous floral spectacle, was awarded it’s 26th Gold Medal. For the second successive year, the Kirstenbosch, South Africa exhibit entitled ‘Under an African Sun’ was made possible by a successful public-private sector partnership between the Western Cape Provincial Government, Old Mutual and the City of Cape Town. The sponsorship allowed three young horticulturists from South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens to attend and participate in the Show. These were Phakamani ‘Pugs’ Xaba (Urban Conservation Programme), Shireen Harris (Free State NBG; currently at the Karoo Desert NBG) and David Dlamini (Walter Sisulu NBG). Congratulations and thanks to the designers, David Davidson and Ray Hudson, the sponsors and the many people, both in South Africa and the UK, that contributed towards this successful exhibit.

External Review of SANBI

Since the National Botanical Institute was formed in 1989, two external reviews have been held of the institution, one in 1995, and the other in 2000. In keeping with the five-year interval and with the formation of SANBI, an international review of NBI/SANBI activities between 2000 and 2004/5 was held in November 2004. The international review panel consisted of Peter Wyse Jackson (BGCI, UK), Sebsebe Demissew (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia) and Kingsley Dixon (Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Australia). Although they only visited Kirstenbosch, Pretoria and the Walter Sisulu NBGs during their brief but intensive visit, they received a detailed report compiled by John Winter (former Curator: Kirstenbosch NBG) and Peter Chaplin (former Curator: Walter Sisulu NBG) on the status of all the eight NBGs. In preparation for the External Review, John Winter and Peter Chaplin conducted an intense 8-day review of all of South Africa’s eight NBGs in mid-October 2004.

Walter Sisulu NBG extended

Thanks to a generous grant from South Africa’s national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), an 8.5 ha piece of undisturbed private land adjacent to the Walter Sisulu NBG has been purchased and incorporated into the Walter Sisulu NBG. The Garden now comprises 308.5 ha, of which about 20 ha is developed garden. Most of the garden is natural bush and includes walking trails and a resident pair of black eagles, a popular attraction for visitors to the garden.

Capital developments in South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens

South Africa’s national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEA&T) has made significant funding (more than R40 million over a three-year period) available to the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and its national network of eight botanical gardens for income-generating capital developments and tourism infrastructure, particularly in the northern parts of South Africa. Significant infrastructural developments have been completed and currently being completed in the following botanical gardens: Pretoria NBG (Pretoria), Free State NBG (Bloemfontein), Walter Sisulu NBG (Johannesburg) and Lowveld NBG (Nelspruit). Developments include restaurants, parking areas, visitor’s centres, curio/book shops, environmental education centres, plant sales nurseries and a Biodiversity Centre (Pretoria). Through private sponsorship, a new Biodiversity Centre, scheduled for completion in mid-2005, is currently being completed in Kirstenbosch NBG.
New facilities in the Lowveld NBG were officially opened during a function held in the garden on 23 June 2004.

Publications still available in the SABONET Report Series

The SABONET Report Series, published through the Southern African Botanical Diversity Network (SABONET) Project, is an occasional publication available free of charge through the SABONET Secretariat in Pretoria. Thus far, 30 numbers in the series have been published, with about ten more planned for publication by March 2005. Although some are out of print, the following numbers are still available:

10. Plant taxonomic expertise: An inventory for southern Africa. (M. Mössmer & C.K. Willis. 2000).
18. Trees of Botswana: names and distribution. (M.P. Setshogo & F.Venter 2003).
20. Checklist of grasses in Namibia. (E.S. Klaassen & P. Craven 2003).
21. A checklist of Zimbabwean bryophytes. (P. Manyanga & S.M. Perold 2004).
22. African Botanic Gardens Congress ‘Partnerships and Linkages”: proceedings of a congress held at Durban Botanic Gardens, South Africa, 24–29 November 2002. / Congrès des Jardins Botaniques Africains ‘Relations et Partenariats’: compte rendu d’un congrès tenu dans les Jardins Botaniques de Durban, Afrique de Sud, 24-29 Novembre 2002. (C.K. Willis ed. 2004).
23. Integration of Red Data List concepts into the policy framework in Mozambique: proceedings of a workshop held in Kaya-Kwanga, Maputo, Mozambique, 29-31 August 2001. / Integração do conceito Lista Vermelha de Plantas no quodro legal de Moçambique: Memórias do Seminário realizado no Kaya-Kwanga, Maputo, Moçambique, 29–31 Augusto de 2001. (S.A. Izidine, I. Nhantumbo & J. Golding eds 2004).
24. A checklist of Botswana grasses. (M. Kabelo & D. Mafokate 2004).
25. Herbarium Essentials: the southern African herbarium user guide. (J.E. Victor, M. Koekemoer, L. Fish, S.J. Smithies & M. Mössmer 2004).
28. A checklist of Angola grasses / Checklist das Poaceae de Angola. (E. Costa, T. Martins & F. Monteiro 2004).
29. Herbaria in SABONET countries: building botanical capacity and meeting end-user expectations. (T.J. Smith, G.F. Smith & Y. Steenkamp 2004).
30. A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique / Catálogo provisório das plantas superiors de Moçambique. (M. C. da Silva, S. A. Izidine & A. B. Amude 2004).

Several out of print numbers are available in PDF format on the SABONET web site: If you would like to order any of the above publications that are still available in hard copy from the SABONET Secretariat, please contact Yolande Steenkamp at

Kirstenbosch included in South Africa’s sixth World Heritage Site

On 30 June 2004 the Cape Floristic Region was inscribed as South Africa’s sixth World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). As part of the Table Mountain National Park, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is incorporated in this World Heritage Site. This is the first time that a botanical garden has been recognized as a natural World Heritage Site. Padua Botanical Garden in Italy and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are inscribed as cultural World Heritage Sites.

Proceedings of the African Botanic Gardens Congress

The published Proceedings of the inaugural African Botanic Gardens Congress held in Durban Botanic Gardens, South Africa, in November 2002 were launched during the African Botanic Gardens Network meeting held in the Botanical Institute of Barcelona, Spain, on 17 April 2004. The publication, number 22 in the SABONET Report Series, includes an English and French version of the proceedings. A limited number of the proceedings were made available to delegates during the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress held in Barcelona in April 2004. Copies can be ordered through the following e-mail address: Alternatively, interested individuals can contact the SABONET Secretariat at the following postal address: SABONET Coordinator, c/o South African National Biodiversity
Institute, Private Bag X101, Pretoria 0001, South Africa or fax +27 12 8045979. The Proceedings were published through the generous sponsorship of the GEF/UNDP-funded SABONET Project and Chris Davidson (US). The Graphics Section and Publications Unit of SANBI based in Pretoria, South Africa, are thanked for their contributions made towards the publication of the proceedings. The proceedings are available free of charge.

From George Owusu-Afriyie in Ghana

BGCI nominate Aburi Botanic Gardens to participate in the 10th Birthday Anniversary of National Lottery in the United Kingdom.

The National Lottery of the United Kingdom is 10 years old this year and will be celebrating the occasion with a high profile public event in central London. The London celebration will be the centrepiece of activity across the whole of the UK as hundreds of projects that have received National Lottery funding throw open their doors and put on special events to say thank you to those that have played and made their funding possible.

How did Aburi become part of the celebration?

BGCI thought the Aburi medicinal project funded by the National Lottery was a good project and nominated Aburi to participate in one of the six categories for Helping Hand Awards representing the sheer diversity of Lottery funding from charities, to the arts, to sport and from big national projects right down to the smallest community grants.

How one can be part of it?

One is expected to select an object which tells your National Lottery story. Your object and story can be as intimate, funny, thought provoking and moving as you like but above all they should be personal, telling everyone about your experience as a National Lottery beneficiary. The chosen objects will be featured in an interactive maze in London in November and together these objects and stories will really give an insight into the impact The National Lottery has had over the last 10 years.

Aburi Object and Story- AN AGE OLD MYTH IS BROKEN

In time past TURRAEA HETEROPHYLLA was regarded as a wonder plant because of its valuable medicinal properties.

It was used in many preparations for the treatment of asthma, lumbago, headaches/migraine, stomach troubles, fever pains and other ailments like whooping cough, male impotence and as a tonic.

Oral history has it that the plant was difficult to find in critical times when someone was sick and it was needed badly. Chances are that if the plant was not found the person will die, hence its local name ‘AHUNYANKWA’ (when you see it you get life).

Other also have it that men folk who were sexually weak cherished it for giving them new life in their waist and power hence the local name.
In all case, the plant will always elude you if you intentionally go out to look for it. The good news is that through the Aburi medicinal plants conservation project which was funded by the National Lottery UK, Aburi Botanic Gardens has put this plant under wide cultivation and freely supplied seedlings to many individuals and groups. The plant is now a readily available resource for preparation of life saving drugs and for the happiness of men.

George Owusu-Afriyie, Aburi Botanic Gardens

From Adeniyi A Jayeola in Nigeria

Osunpoly Botanic Garden takes off 2005

There is now a sustained interest in plant conservation at the global level after decades of unsustainable practices during which man inflicted incalculable damage on tropical biodiversity. The Osun State Polytechnic, (OSUNPOLY), Iree, Nigeria, is concerned about the current status of biodiversity in its immediate environment in particular and in Nigeria in general.

In Nigeria, FEPA (1993) reported that, between 1950 - 1992, two spp. of animals and 20 spp. of plants have became extinct; 48 spp. of animals, 143 spp. of plants were in endangered; 16 spp. of animals and 45 spp. plants were categorized as rare; 30 spp. of animals and 20 spp. of plants were vulnerable, 422 spp. of animals and 305 spp. of plants were endemic. This result was obtained by the application of the IUCN Red List categories for classifying species at high risk of global extinction (Version 1.0, Mace and Lamde, 1991). Similarly, 127 tree spp. endemic to Nigeria are globally threatened (Oldfield et al, Jayeola, 2004). All efforts to find six endemic orchid spp of Nigeria throughout their historic range proved abortive.

One way to reduce threats of plant extinction is to protect their germplasms in situ and/or ex situ as live collections in botanic gardens for maintenance, propagation and re-introduction purposes. This is in line with Targets 7 and 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.
Unfortunately, there are only five botanic gardens in Nigeria, in spite of the huge endemism and well documented threat indeces. Besides, most eco-floristic zones are not significantly represented in the existing botanic gardens.

A number of factors favour the establishment of a botanic garden in OSUNPOLY, Nigeria. The factors are as follows:

  • Strong institutional commitment to plant conservation, through collection, propagation and re-introduction.
  • Presence of endemic and globally threatened spp.
  • Substantial land area available.
  • Varied topography, geology and flora.
  • Natural forest is represented.
  • Arable land available for nursery development.
  • A growing herbarium to assist plant taxonomic work.

It is estimated that 600 - 700 species of indigenous plants, with special focus on the threatened flora of Nigeria, will be protected and managed in the botanic garden as its nucleus material.

OSUNPOLY realises the importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into education, communication and public awareness programmes.

Adeniyi A. Jayeola
(Institutional Adviser to OSUNPOLY Botanic Garden)
C/o Department of Botany and Microbiology
University of Ibadan, Nigeria.


A private Botanic Garden in upland Kenya

From Mark Nicholson

Like many African countries, Kenya is experiencing major loss of plant biodiversity and unprecedented deforestation, the result of land use change (tea, coffee, softwood plantations and smallholder agriculture in the highlands) and to the demand for charcoal and hardwoods. Soil on cleared land rapidly loses its absorptive capacity, as the leaf canopy and leaf mulch no longer protect the soil from rainfall. Run-off and soil erosion rise, causing increased storm flow in rivers. In the dry season, rivers dry up, as soil water no longer feeds springs. Organic matter is oxidized, resulting in loss of fertility. At the same time, all other biodiversity declines.

Brackenhurst Highland Arboretum (BHA) is a private initiative started and managed by Plants for Life International; a local NGO based 25km north of Nairobi at Brackenhurst Baptist International Centre near Tigoni, in a District where 99.9 percent of the indigenous vegetation has been destroyed. 100 years ago, all the valleys around Tigoni teemed with elephant, buffalo, and leopard. All have disappeared.

Twenty-five acres were set aside in 2001 for both in situ and ex situ conservation of indigenous vegetation. Wattle (Acacia mearnsii), eucalyptus and cypress plantations were cut down and replaced with about 50 species of indigenous tree seedlings. Wattle forest acidifies already acid soils and we have had great difficulty in promoting vigorous growth on former wattle areas. The project now collects, conserves and propagates upland species of trees, shrubs, lianas and herbaceous plants from all over upland Kenya (>1750m). So far, the project has propagated more than 620 species of higher plants. We expect closed-canopy forest within eight years. In addition, the bird count has climbed from about a dozen species in the plantations to more than 80 today, and insects (particularly butterflies) have made a dramatic comeback over the last two years. An up-to-date plant list is maintained and every species is photographed digitally, following a generous donation of camera and computer from Chris Davidson and Sharon Christoph of the Idaho Botanic Garden. I am now preparing a much–needed naturalist’s guide to the trees and plants of upland Kenya.

Many upland plant species are now endangered, vulnerable or even extinct in Kenya. Unless a concerted attempt is made to protect them, species may be lost before their value is determined. For example, the tree Prunus africana (listed on Appendix II of CITES) is being felled throughout tropical Africa for the extraction of a pharmaceutical compound for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. This tree is now threatened whereas it could be grown commercially and harvested on a sustainable basis. Many more species are not on any CITES list because so little is known about them. For example, Embelia keniensis R.E. Fries (Mysinaceae) is an endemic climber at least 10 m tall, which known from Tigoni on three private plots (“Kenya Trees, Shrubs and Lianas” states that it was also collected on Mt. Kenya in 1922). On one plot, the indigenous bush has since been cleared and the plants were cut down. As far as is known, only six plants remain. With the help of Durban Botanic Garden, we will now be propagating it using tissue culture.

The forest, arboretum and botanic garden are free for visitors who are asked not to damage the plants (we have lost plants from people who come at night to take bark or even dig up whole plants). The work also includes environmental and botanical education of our staff. Concomitant with this is, we provide education at both local and national level, on the commercial, environmental, cultural and aesthetic benefits of tree planting. We work with a local herbal group by trying to get them to cultivate medicinal plants rather than relying on non-sustainable wild harvest. Population density is so high in the Kenya highlands that areas of natural bush outside National Parks and forests will inevitably disappear. So we are trying to cultivate and commercialize indigenous medicinal plants and trees so that conservation becomes profitable as well as aesthetic.

The project was generously funded by Ford Foundation in 2003-4. We are now searching for more support in a country where economic growth is stagnating. Biodiversity conservation still has low priority in a country where there are so many socio-economic problems and demands on donor funding are pressing.

Further information from

2nd African Botanic Gardens Network Congress
Limbe Botanic Garden, Cameroon
28th November – 2nd December 2005

Following up on the successful First African Botanic Gardens Congress held in Durban Botanic Gardens in November 2002, plans are underway for the Second Congress to be held in Limbe Botanic Garden, Cameroon in late 2005.

For further details please contact Ndam Nouhou, Email:

African Botanic Gardens Network Bulletin

The African Botanic Garden Bulletin has a revolving editorship. This means that your garden can have the opportunity to produce the Bulletin should you be interested. Please contact BGCI at Descanso House, 199 Kew Road, Richmond Surrey TW9 3BW, UK Fax: 0044 020 8332 5956 Email:, or express your interest to the current Editor Anne Evans: Durban Botanic Gardens, P.O. Box 3740, Durban 4000, South Africa Tel: +27 (031) 201 1303 Fax: +27 (031) 201 7382 Email:

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