The Durban Botanic Gardens has awarded Dr Elsa Pooley the John Medley Wood Medal for her contributions to KZN’s flora.
The Trust’s Ivor Daniel says the award recognises exceptional people in the field of botany and horticulture.
“What is striking about her work is her expansive knowledge on indigenous plants and the fact that she documented this so thoroughly and made it accessible to everyone. Her contribution to knowledge in this field has been exceptional,” he said.
Speaking to Newswatch, Dr Pooley says it is an honour to be recognised by peers within the indigenous plants sector.
She says the love of botany and gardening began as a youngster.
“I started painting flowers as a teenager. My husband noticed my engrained interest in plants and encouraged me to put information together and publish a book. This was in 1965 where there weren’t any field guides or books to identify your plants.
“He said to me if you have knowledge, you should share it,” she said.
Dr Pooley is now collaboratively working with plant experts, Geoff Nichols and Andrew Hankey on a new read that will focus on all the indigenous garden plants of South Africa.
“We have researched it such that every plant that has been propagated in South Africa will be illustrated and followed up with really good gardening information on a big scale.
“It will also show people who are keen on gardening – whether ingenious or general gardeners – what incredible plants we have in this country,” she said.