Swartberg Mountains - northern Klein Karoo boundary
Separating the Klein Karoo from the Groot Karoo, this formidable range extends from near Laingsburg in the west to near Willowmore in the east and harbours some of the most spectacular mountain passes in the country. The mountains are replete with a diversity of endemic species including Protea aristata, arguably one of the most highly regarded of the Proteas.
For Paul Hermann (1646–1695), German-born Dutch physician and botanist. He graduated in medicine at the universities of Leiden and Padua, became a ship’s medical officer (1672–1677) for the Dutch East India Company and went to Sri Lanka via the Cape, where he made the first known herbarium collection of local plants, now housed in the Sloane Herbarium, British Museum of Natural History and at Oxford. In 1679 he became professor of botany at the University of Leiden and director of the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, Europe’s finest botanical garden. His 1687 publication Horti Academici Lugduno-Batavi Catalogus includes 34 Cape plants, and his proposed Prodomus Plantaerum Africanarum was to contain 791 items, but untimely death intervened.
For James Niven (1776–1827), Scottish gardener at the Royal Botanical Garden of Edinburgh and at Syon House, Middlesex. He collected plants in South Africa from 1798–1803 for his patron, George Hibbert, in Clapham, London. Three months after his return to England he went back to the Cape as botanical collector for Empress Josephine of France and James Lee and John Kennedy of the Vineyard Nursery, Hammersmith, near London. He spent a further nine years at the Cape collecting herbarium specimens, seeds and bulbs but also visiting areas such as Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape to Clanwilliam northwest of Cape Town, returning to England in 1812 and setting up his own business, unrelated to botany.