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The Bews Herbarium (NU)

The Bews Herbarium (NU), formerly called the Natal University Herbarium and named after John William Bews, is part of the School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). It is located in the John Bews Building, B-block, Room 201, on the Pietermaritzburg Science and Agriculture Campus. The facility was founded in 1910 and currently houses ca. 150 000 specimens, making it the herbarium collection in KwaZulu-Natal.

The collection is primarily associated with research on the floras of KwaZulu-Natal and the eastern seaboard of South Africa. The flora of the Drakensberg Alpine Region and the Natal Midlands is well documented in the herbarium. Furthermore, several families have been the focus of research for many years and are also particularly well represented. These include Asteraceae, Cyperaceae, Fabaceae, Gesneriaceae, Orchidaceae, Poaceae, and ferns. In addition, NU has a substantial collection of South African marine macroalgae.


Materials of Special Interest

Major collectors : K. Balkwill, M-J. Balkwill, L.R. Bauer, A.J.W. Bayer, F. Bayer, J.S. Beard, J.W. Bews, J.M. Browning, B.L. Burtt, N.C. Chase, D. Edwards, T.J. Edwards, B.S. Fisher, E.E. Galpin, J. Gerstner, K.D. Gordon-Gray, J.S. Henkel, O.M. Hilliard (also collected as O.M. Hillary), B.J. Huntley, K.D. Gordon-Gray (also collected as K.D. Huntley), D.J.B. Killick, E. Moll, E.S. Pooley, E.A. Robinson, J.H. Ross, E.A.C.L.E. Schelpe, H.G.W.J. Schweickert, T.R. Sim, C.H. Stirton, R.G. Strey, W.R. Trauseld, L.D.E.F. Vesey-Fitzgerald, C.J. Ward, J.M. Wood, F.B. Wright.

Premier site for collections of South African macroalgae, housing a large assemblage of these organisms on the continent.

Medicinal plant collections by Fr. F. Mayr and A.B. Cunningham are housed together with voucher specimens from recent ethno-and economic botanical investigations.

The Bews herbarium also has a large collection of alien invasive and weedy plants.



Welcome to the website of the Bews Herbarium (NU).

On this page you can search our specimen collection. About 30,000 out of 150,000 specimens have been digitised so far.











Contact details

University of KwaZulu-Natal
School of Life Sciences
P/Bag X01, Scottsville
Pietermaritzburg 3209
South Africa



Useful links

The Bews Herbarium

Bews on Index herbariorum

Finding us on the map (type in NU)









Site published by
Dr. Benny Bytebier
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Dr. B Bytebier






The Herbarium uses the Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System (BRAHMS) to computerize plant collection data. Data and images are published online using BRAHMS WebConnect.

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