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The Botanical Society of South Africa has established a set of Honours & Awards by which it honours the achievements and contributions of members of the Society and other persons or bodies, to the mission of the Society, which broadly encompasses the promotion and appreciation of the southern African wild flower heritage. These awards are presented for important achievements and are evaluated according to specific criteria (see below) by an Honours & Awards Committee that is appointed annually by the Council of the Botanical Society.

Please note that all nominations for consideration are to be submitted to the BotSoc head office no later than 12 noon on 15 May of the given year.


Nomination and nomination procedure

Nominations for Honours & Awards will be called for in the March issue of Veld & Flora. Notification encouraging nominations will be communicated to branches and noted on the website, and national Facebook page.

The closing date for submission of nominations will be 12 noon on 15 May of the year for which the award is relevant by close of business, as per the criteria set out below. No nominations will be accepted after the closing date.

Nominations for the relevant award must be made through the Executive Director of the Society. Nominations must be made on the official Honours & Awards nomination forms which are obtainable from Head Office or can be downloaded from the Society's website.

The nominations must be well motivated and reflect the wording of the relevant award. A nomination must have a proposer and seconder, who must both be members of the Botanical Society in good standing. Both the proposer and the seconder must sign the nomination form. There are two separate nomination forms — one for Honorary Life Membership, the other for one for the Medals and other Awards.

  • Committee members cannot nominate and/or second a recipient (Council decision – Council meeting of 11 June 2014).
  • Nominee need not sign the nomination form (Council decision- 12 Feb. 2015)
  • A sitting member of Council may be nominated for an award or medal but should this be the case, be excluded from any deliberations there related (Council decision – 12 Feb. 2015)

The Honours & Awards Committee

The Honours & Awards Committee (referred to as the 'Committee') shall consist of a Chairman, who shall be a member of the Council (preferably the President), and at least two (2) but not exceeding five (5) other members of the Society in good standing. The Executive Director will serve in an ex officio capacity, and as a member of the Committee, the Executive Director will have a vote. A member may resign at any time, but must retire after serving for a consecutive period of three years. Council has the porogative to invite members to serve on the committee annually at the pleasure of Council to assist with the processing of nominations received in that year.

Head office fulfils secretariat duties and administrative support of this committee. This includes checking all the nominations and motivations against the criteria, date of acceptance of nomination and signature of proposer and seconder.

The role of the Committee will be to meet once a year, preferably before the June Council meeting or at least before the August Council Exco Meeting, to consider the nominations for the various awards. Take note that Council suggested that meetings of committees should coincide with a Council meeting. This meeting may be a physical meeting or by teleconference or round robin email, determined by the need. The award recipients shall be determined at the meeting of the Committee.

All members of Council will be informed and the final result will be forwarded to Council Exco for ratification in August.

The nomination of candidates for Honorary Life Membership will be brought by Council to the Annual General Meeting for a vote by all members attending and will be carried by a simple majority. The decisions of the Committee will remain confidential until the Annual General Meeting of the Society that takes place in September of each year at which time the recipients will be announced. ​

It is the task of the Committee to ensure the following:

  • That all nominations comply with the criteria of each award and that they are considered fairly.
  • That a high standard is maintained, also keeping in mind the stature of previous recipients.
  • Nominations not suitably motivated and/or not relevant to the award are to be disregarded. Should a nomination be well motivated but further detail specifications required, the committee may contact the proposer for such information.
  • That if there are not nominees of sufficiently high standard for a specific award, the awards are not made. The Committee may not make nominations at the Committee meeting.
  • A quorum will be a simple majority of the members of the Committee. A simple majority vote of ALL Committee members will decide on the recipients of the awards, which means that the written opinion of members that cannot be present at the Committee meeting, will be taken into account.

[Note 1: All Committee members should express an opinion. This is done in the following way: All Committee members receive a summary of all nominations in table format, well in advance of the Committee meeting, and that ALL Committee members give an opinion IN WRITING on the (electronic) Table, which must be sent back to HO, who will make a summary. The original table with all Committee members' comments and the summary table will then be sent back to all Committee members. The results will be discussed at the Committee meeting (physical meeting or teleconference or round robin email, as need be). The opinion of the Committee members may include Supported or Not-Supported or Undecided.

Note 2: Should the opinions include "Undecided", and no simple majority can be determined, a Deciding Vote by the Chairman of the Committee may be necessary.

  • Final ratification of awards will rest with Council
  •  Awards will normally be presented to recipients at a Branch Award Ceremony, organised and financed by the branch, but this does not exclude some special occasion ceremony at e.g. HO at Kirstenbosch
  • The Schelpe award is specific to Veld & Flora articles. 
  • From time to time it may be necessary for Council to consider establishing additional awards. These will have to be well motivated with clear criteria in keeping with the ethos of the Botanical Society.
  • In instances where there are multiple authors/ persons nominated for an award/medal, a single medal will be awarded and each individual to receive a certificate. (Council decision- 12 Feb. 2015)


Honours and Award Categories

Honorary Life Membership. This may be awarded to any member of the Botanical Society who has rendered exceptional services to the Society or one of its branches. The conferring of the award must be voted on by members present at the relevant General Meeting of the Society.

Bolus Medal. This medal may be awarded to an amateur botanist who has made a significant contribution to the knowledge of the flora of southern Africa through publications in the recognized scientific literature. The recipient may not earn his/her living as a botanist, but may have received formal training in botany at the university level. The Medal commemorates the life and work of Dr Harry Bolus (1834–1911), retired stockbroker, who published extensively on the flora of southern Africa, endowed the first chair of Botany at the University of Cape Town and founded the Bolus Herbarium at that university.​

Marloth Medal. This medal may be awarded to anyone who has produced significant scientific literature of a popular nature to stimulate public interest in the indigenous flora of southern Africa.

The medal commemorates Dr Rudolf Marloth (1855–1931), pharmacist, analytical chemist and botanist who published much on the southern African flora, the most famous publication being his 'Flora of South Africa' which appeared in six magnificently illustrated volumes between 1913 and 1932.

Denys Heesom Medal. This medal may be awarded to any person or organization that has made a significant contribution to the eradication of alien vegetation in southern Africa.

This award commemorates Denys Heesom, businessman and conservationist, Chairman of the Council (1973–1976), and founder of the well-known Betty's Bay Hack Group who was especially keen on the eradication of alien vegetation. He was the author of the 'Green Cancers' booklet published by the Society.

Cythna Letty Medal. This medal is awarded to any person who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of the flora of southern Africa through the medium of published botanical illustrations. (In this context illustrations refer to paintings or drawings but not to photographs for which a separate medal exists.) This award commemorates Cythna Letty (1895–1985), renowned botanical artist at the former Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria, whose work included 730 plates in Flowering Plants of (South) Africa.

Dudley D'Ewes Medal. This medal may be awarded to any person who effectively promotes the flora of southern Africa and its conservation through the media (newspapers, popular journals, radio and television, but excluding books).

This award commemorates Dudley D'Ewes, journalist and conservationist, President of the Society (1956–1974) and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Botanical Gardens.

Percy Sergeant Medal. This medal may be awarded to any person who effectively promotes the flora of southern Africa and its conservation through the medium of photography

The award commemorates Percy Sergeant, member and friend of the Society whose internationally acclaimed photographs illustrated a number of publications on the flora of southern Africa.

Botanical Society Flora Conservation Medal. This medal may be awarded to any person or body who has contributed considerably towards the preservation and conservation of the flora of southern Africa, over a period of at least a decade. This award is intended to cover a wide spectrum of persons such as landowners, financiers, educationalists and includes professional botanists/conservationists i.e. persons who work e.g. for SANBI, provincial nature conservation departments, SANPARKS, Tertiary Education Institutions, etc.

Schelpe Award. This award is made for the best article in Veld & Flora in any given year (in the 12 months preceding the year of nomination) covering any aspect of the horticulture of the indigenous flora of southern Africa. It is a monetary award derived from the Schelpe Memorial Fund.The award commemorates Professor E.A.C.L.E. (Ted) Schelpe (1924–1985), botanist, horticulturalist, fern and orchid specialist of international repute, Chairman of Council (1976–78). President of the Society (1982–85) and Director of the Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town, at the time of his death.

Botanical Society Certificate of Appreciation. This award may be made to a member of the Society (on recommendation from a branch) where the Council would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by that member to the aims and objectives of the Society in promoting the flora of southern Africa. These contributions may be of a wide variety of nature, e.g. administrative work in branch offices; volunteer work in an associated National Botanical Garden; plant identification and herbarium work, plant shows, teaching and guiding work; financial donations; flower show organization; public awareness stimulation etc.​