A herbarium is a museum of preserved plants and as such serves as a baseline for all plant science. Today, the actual dried specimens are made available by high resolution scans on the Internet, and botanical databases allow all plant specimens in herbaria across the world to be synchronised, greatly facilitating research. DNA analysis has also revolutionised botany.
The Buffelskloof Herbarium was initiated in 1995 and has grown to be the largest and most
significant herbarium in Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. With over 25 000 specimens, this well-curated and modern herbarium is the largest private herbarium in the country and increasingly attracts researchers and students from around South Africa and the world.
Situated within the well-preserved and biodiverse Buffelskloof Nature Reserve, the Herbarium provides an ideal facility for plant taxonomic research within an area rich in plant species and varying plant communities and biomes.
John Burrows is a world renowned botanist with a number of major works of reference to his credit, the most recent being the first ever comprehensive description of the Trees and Shrubs of Mozambique, a major contribution to science and conservation in that war-torn country whose flora is now under massive threat from human activity and exploitation.
John is a dedicated scientist conservator and educator whose expertise and passion has inspired many students.
Barbara Turpin came to Buffelskloof as a volunteer 10 years ago and has become an expert on BRAHMS, the new botanical database from Oxford. She is regularly called on to give courses at herbaria across South Africa.
She travels widely in Europe and Africa visiting herbaria and collecting plant specimens. She is also a musician and plays the viola in in local ensembles.
Sandie Burrows is a prize-winning botanical artist and illustrator. She has published many thousands of drawings to illustrate the books published by herself and her husband John. She is also a botanist with a particular interest in Asparagaceae of which she has discovered several species new to science.
She is currently also working on a book about drift seeds, a subject of great popular appeal, and, incidentally, of historical importance in the theory of evolution, Darwin having taken a great interest in it.