Southern Africa

Found in the south-west corner of Melbourne Gardens, this Collection is an excellent demonstration of environmental pressures driving adaptive evolution.  The plants that bound South African Lawn originated from the supercontinent Gondwana, and take readily to Melbourne, performing well in our soils and climate.

This Collection is always developing as new species are introduced and rehomed from elsewhere in the Gardens.

  • This Collection is an important ex situ­ collection which aims to conserve the rich biodiversity of Southern Africa.
  • It demonstrates the relationships between Southern African and Australian plants, and how they contrast and compare.

Key Plants

Haemanthus coccineus

Blood Lily

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Dais cotinifolia

Pompom Tree

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Erythrina acanthocarpa

Tambooki Thorn

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Encephalartos transvenosus

Modjadji Cycad

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<em>Haemanthus coccineus</em>

Blood Lily

Emerging in early autumn from the soil as a single flowering head, this beautiful flower resembles a scarlet paint brush. It is then followed by two large green leaves, and translucent berries that adorn the spent flower head.

Notes from the Curator

The Southern African Collection is filled with weird and wonderful plants such Erythrina acanthocarpa (Tambooki thorn), and a range of prehistoric looking cycads. Many of these plants have adapted odd growth habits to survive the harsh environment. Some Southern African plants fit well into the average Australian garden including strelitzia, agapanthus, clivias, geraniums and freesias, with quite a few species, like the proteas and leucadendrons, being mistaken for Australian natives.

New additions to the garden include the redevelopment of the Encephalartos bed. Which has been reshaped and planted out with a range of low growing floriferous plants. With the intention of showcasing South African flowers and harmoniously adding to the display of the majestic Erythrina crista galli. Plants include Eucomis (pineapple lily), Salvias, Kniphofia (red hot pokers), Arctotis (African daisies). The bed will be in full flower over the summer period.