The Seedroom at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden sells seed of a wide range of plants indigenous to southern Africa, as well as the Kirstenbosch Instant Smoke Plus Seed Primer, which gives better results when germinating many fynbos species. Please continue reading down this page to find out what we supply, how we operate, how seed is dispatched, advice for international buyers and information about free seed for Botanical Society members.
Click on the icons below to dowload a PDF file of the current seed catalogue, the seed order form or the Instant Smoke Plus Seed Primer order form.
The seed catalogue lists the species on offer, with prices, our conditions of sale and procedure to order. Seed can also be exported. Our catalogue is not illustrated, but for each species listed, we give the botanical name, any synonyms, any common/descriptive names in use and the family name. It also includes a short description giving information, where applicable, on estimated height, habit, flower colour, distinguishing features, etc.
For photos and cultivation information on hundreds of indigenous plants, please go to our plant information website PlantZAfrica.
Contact the Seedroom:
To receive a copy of the seed catalogue by post, write to us or email us asking for a copy with your name and postal address:
The Seedroom, Kirstenbosch NBG
Private Bag X7
CLAREMONT, Cape Town
7735 South Africa
Tel: +27 (021) 799 8899/8624
Fax: +27 (021) 762 8239
What we supply:
We supply seed of plants that are indigenous to southern Africa. Most of it is harvested from the plants growing in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, the majority of which are of known wild origin. We harvest some species from the natural areas of the Kirstenbosch Estate that border the Garden, and receive some contribution from the Regional National Botanical Gardens.
We supply seed of all types of indigenous plants including annuals, bulbous plants, climbers, herbaceous perennials, pelargoniums, shrubs, trees, succulents, aquatic plants, protea family, ericas and restios. We offer the seed in sample packets, and wherever possible in bulk as well, either per 100 and/or per 1000 seeds. Our seed stocks are variable and limited, and it happens that plants are removed or pruned before we can harvest seed, or seed set may be poor or we may just be sold out due to high demand.
Effectively all our seed is open pollinated, the only exceptions being some of those plants that need assistance to set seed in the Garden e.g. Strelitzia juncea, Strelitzia reginae, Clivia miniata, the rest are left to their own devices. As a result, we cannot guarantee the absence of hybridization. We name the seed according to the plant from which it was harvested, according to the latest botanical information.
We do not have seed testing facilities and therefore cannot guarantee the viability of our seed. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, every care is taken from harvest to storage to ensure that only top quality seed is supplied. We dry our seed under controlled conditions and store everything at 5°C. Most of our stocks are replaced on a yearly basis.
How we operate
We are first and foremost a mail-order supplier, although we can make provision for clients who prefer to pick up their seed order from our office. We accept orders by mail, fax, email or telephone.
We ask that buyers do not send money with their order – this is mainly because we add the cost of postage (which depends on the mass of the parcel) and a handling fee to the total, and there may be items ordered that are out of stock – the result is that the amount sent is rarely the correct amount and either money has to be returned or more has to be sent.
Upon receipt of an order, it is queued in our in-box in sequence of receipt and processed in turn. We endeavour to respond to all orders within 5 working days, and while there are times when we may not make it, we promise to respond within 15 working days at the most.
During processing of an order, the seed is removed from stock and reserved for that client. We then issue a quotation/pro-forma invoice listing the seed being supplied, and giving the total cost for the order i.e. including the handling fee and postage costs, and excluding any out of stock items. The quotation is then faxed or posted to the client, who, provided the quotation is acceptable to him/her, pays the total indicated.
We accept VISA and MasterCard credit cards, cheques and/or bank drafts and deposits or credit transfers into the SANBI bank account (our banking details are supplied with the quotation). We ask our clients to please return the quotation or a copy of it with their payment to enable the SANBI cashier to identify for which department in SANBI the payment is intended.
As soon as the Seed Room is notified that payment has been received, the seed is dispatched. If the seed is not paid for or otherwise claimed within thirty days of the date from which the quotation was issued, we reserve the right to cancel the quotation and offer the seed to the next in line.
How seed is dispatched
All orders are dispatched F.O.B. Cape Town and entirely at the purchaser’s risk. We cannot take responsibility for losses incurred by the postal service, unless the loss is caused by our negligence. Domestic parcels are sent by ordinary mail and international parcels are sent airmail, unless we are instructed otherwise by the buyer. The seed order form lists a variety of delivery options, e.g. registration/courier delivery. All seed orders are dispatched in sturdy cartons, or in padded postal bags.
Import advice for international buyers
We expect international buyers to know, or find out, the import regulations for their country – if there are any special conditions they must inform us of them. If we cannot meet them then we will let you know and will not accept the order. We abide by all standard import/export regulations in that all commercial orders are supplied with a tax invoice, all seed packets are labelled with the botanical name of the seed contents, and we affix the requisite customs declaration to the parcel with contents and value declared. If seed is impounded by the authorities of an importing country because a document is missing and we were not asked to supply the document, that is the buyer’s problem.
Should your order require a treatment such as fumigation or dusting with a fungicide/insecticide, let us know and if we can, we will comply. Likewise, if you need a phytosanitary certificate, let us know, and one will be supplied at the going rate.
If you are not aware of your import regulations, we strongly recommend that you find out what they are. Most countries attach the department that deals with such matters to their Dept./Ministry of Agriculture or Agricultural Affairs, in a sub-division with a name like Plant and Quality Control/Phytosanitary Services/Quarantine & Inspection Services/Plant Health. They should be able to tell you exactly what, if any, permits you need to import plant material, what species you may or may not import and whether or not you need a phytosanitary certificate.
Seed for Members of the Botanical Society of South Africa
One of the perks of membership of the Botanical Society of South Africa is the annual allocation of free seed to some South African members. This seed is supplied by the Kirstenbosch Seed Room.
The number of packets that you may receive is determined by your membership category, i.e. an Ordinary Member can receive 15 packets, while a Family Member is entitled to 25 packets.
Members who are eligible for the free seed perk receive their seed catalogues in December. The sooner you place your order the better as the orders are processed on a strictly first-come-first-served basis. Although we usually begin distributing the seed during February-March, we queue the orders in sequence of receipt.
If you are not a member and are interested in finding out more about the aims and objectives of the Society and other membership perks, or you have a query about membership benefits, contact the Botanical Society directly at 021 797 2090, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website.