The first known isiXhosa fynbos field guide was launched on Friday 20 May at Kirstenbosch. The guide is aimed at supporting fynbos pickers to know which fynbos species can be picked in the veld, and how to pick responsibly. It is the work of a partnership between Flower Valley Conservation Trust and the Universities of Durham and Newcastle.

The launch of the guide, called the Field Guide for Wild Flower Harvesting, was attended by the likes of CapeNature, WWF-South Africa, retailers, municipalities and tertiary institutions. The guide, a series of videos and a field assessment tool – all developed through the partnership – will be used to support Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting Programme.


According to WWF-SA CEO, Dr Morné du Plessis at the launch, South Africa is a biodiversity superpower. “South Africa is in the top 10 biodiversity-rich countries in the world. We’ve got to turn that into an opportunity for ourselves.” A third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product is fundamentally dependent on the environment. He said much of WWF’s work takes place through partners like the Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

Co-author of the field guide, Gerhard van Deventer, said the guide describes 41 fynbos species that are harvested on the Agulhas Plain. “The booklet will come in handy if you’re in the veld, and are wondering if you’re allowed to pick a specie.” The guide is available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. It’s aimed at harvesters, landowners, tertiary institutions and others.

Flower Valley’s Mntambo Nakwa, who supported the translation of the guide into isiXhosa, said translating fynbos-related words into isiXhosa proved a challenge. “Some words simply can’t be translated directly, and need an explanation.” He said in Xhosa, there are no words for flower parts like the bract and petal. “In Xhosa there is one word for the flower: Igqabi – which means flower.”

The guide and other tools will be handed out to harvesters and landowners who are members of the Sustainable Harvesting Programme. This progamme coordinated by Flower Valley Conservation Trust, is an assurance programme, providing retailers with the assurance that fynbos is not being picked irresponsibly, and social and labour compliance is being met.

The Sustainable Harvesting Programme is being supported by the European Union and the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.