This is the true South African forest with trees like the water berry and water pear, Syzygium cordatum and S. guineense, also matumi, Breonadia salicina and the quinine tree, Rauvolfia caffra.
Matumi grows down to the water's edge, with enormous roots going right into the river.
Inflorescences of the Water Pear, Syzygium guineense, resemble those of the eucalyptuses, which also belong to the family Myrtaceae.
On a shaded and rocky, narrow strip between the forest and the taxonomic garden lies a wonderful collection of ferns, ranging from the fragile, daintiest maidenhair of them all, Adiantum poirettii, to the robust and rampant climber, Stenochlaena tenuifolia seen here. This fern, once thought to be restricted to the eastern seaboard, was discovered in the Barberton area about 20 years ago.
John Burrows, author of Southern African ferns and fern allies (Frandsen, Sandton 1992) considers this to be one of the finest fern collections in the botanical gardens of Africa. Among the attractive bird's nest ferns is this species, Microsorium punctatum.
On a scorching summer day an amble through this verdant, cool, moist garden is sheer bliss and if it's hot enough you won't even bother to dodge the sprinklers!