Southern Africa

Found in the south-west corner of Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, this Collection is an excellent demonstration of environmental pressures driving adaptive evolution.  The plants that bound Cape Triangle Lawn originated from the supercontinent Gondwana, and take readily to Melbourne, performing well in our soils and climate.

This Collection is always developing as new species are introduced and rehomed from elsewhere in the Gardens.

  • This Collection is an important ex-situ­ collection which aims to conserve the rich biodiversity of Southern Africa.
  • It demonstrates the relationships between Southern African and Australian plants, and how they contrast and compare.

Key Plants

Blood Lily

Haemanthus coccineus

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Pompom Tree

Dais cotinifolia

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Tambooki Thorn

Erythrina acanthocarpa

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Modjadji Cycad

Encephalartos transvenosus

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Blood Lily

<em>Haemanthus coccineus</em>

Emerging in early autumn from the soil as a single flowering head, this beautiful flower resembles a scarlet paint brush. It is then followed by two large green leaves, and translucent berries that adorn the spent flower head.

Notes from the Curator

The Southern African collection is filled with weird and wonderful plants such Erythrina acanthocarpa (Tambooki thorn), and a range of prehistoric looking cycads. Many of these plants have adapted growth habits to ward off grazing animals. However, some Southern African plants fit well into the average Australian garden including strelitzia, agapanthus, clivias, geraniums and freesias. With quite a few species, like the proteas and leucadendrons, being mistaken for Australian natives.