In the broadest sense, the goal of the NBI's plant systematics research thrust is to discover, document and study botanical diversity. Considering the immensely rich and diverse flora of the subcontinent, systematists in southern Africa have a daunting task. At the NBI, systematics research is therefore carried out through selected programmes that aim to:
- Discover, describe and document southern Africa's botanical diversity in monographs, floras and other inventories
- Understand the natural affinities and phylogenetic relationships of plants on the subcontinent so as to produce predictable classifications
- Assemble this knowledge into efficient databases for various end users
- Improve the floristic inventory by field work in under-collected areas of the region
- Develop and maintain a network of herbaria where the natural plant resources of the country are archived.
The systematics programmes are carried out at three research centres attached to the three herbaria of the Institute, namely at
Cape Town (NBG)