Useful Plants Garden at Kirstenbosch

The role that indigenous plants play


The utilisation of indigenous plants in community horticulture in South Africa can do much to alleviate a wide variety of needs.

Many of the indigenous plants that were freely used by indigenous people have fallen victim to more expensive, less nutritious packaged food from supermarkets and stores. Indigenous food plants need to be researched, propagated and reintroduced to community gardens.


Many indigenous plants have been used for centuries to alleviate symptoms of disease. Scientists suggest that the chemical content of many of these plants is the reason, since currently a large part of the drugs used in clinical medicine are derived from plant materials.

Income generating
Traditional skills in the use of indigenous plants for thatching, basketry, jewellery, mats and carving are now proving to be profitable in the craft industry especially to people who are not formally employed.
  Land management
Wise use of indigenous plants to correct problems of erosion and improve pastures is essential to restore ecological balance in rural and semi-rural areas.
Water source conservation
Wise use of indigenous plants has an essential part to play in conserving, maintaining and providing a biological filter for water sources.

Useful Plants Garden
at Kirstenbosch

Rowland & Leta Hill Trust

Botanical Society


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