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Northern California Regional Reports

South African Flowers at Home in Northern California

Touring the southern Africa collection at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Cape buttercup is a stunning South African bulb that blooms in March at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Photo: courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials

The University of California Botanical Garden, located high in the Berkeley Hills, is a 34-acre landscape of incredible diversity. Filled with plants collected from the wild of nearly every continent—many of them rare or endangered—the botanical garden’s more than 12,000 plant species are primarily organized into geographically representational collections. There are sections devoted to Asia, Australasia, eastern North America, California, Mexico and Central America, deserts of the Americas, South America, and southern Africa. The garden also features taxonomic and ethnobotanical collections as well.

Dwarf nerine
Dwarf nerine (Nerine humilis, Zones 9–11) is one of many plants brought back from its native climate for the University of California Botanical Garden’s southern Africa collection. Photo: Fionuala Campion

The southern Africa collection features a variety of unusual plants brought back over the years from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, and Namibia—a vast area containing a broad range of different and often difficult topographies,…

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