Official Naming of the Albertina Sisulu Orchid




The critically endangered orchid Brachycorythis conica ssp. tranvaalensis was officially named the Albertina Sisulu Orchid at the launch of the Sisulu Circle at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden on the 10th July 2018.

The prestigious event was attended by members of the Sisulu family, the Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr. Edna Molewa, The Minister of Tourism Mr. Dereck Hanekom as well as representatives of the Department of Environmental Affairs, SANBI, Mogale City Municipality and community members. 

A bronze statue of the late Walter Sisulu overlooking the spectacular Sisulu Circle at the entrance of the Garden was unveiled as part of the proceedings. 

Karsten Wodrich, Vice Chairman of WOSA gave a short presentation to the reasons why the name Albertina Sisulu Orchid was chosen for the critically endangered orchid before presenting a limited edition print of the magnificent orchid by renowned artist Daleen Roodt to members of the Sisulu Family Mr Max Sisulu and his wife Elinor. The framed print was jointly sponsored by the Proteadal Conservation Association and Wild Orchids Southern Africa. Currently, the only viable population of around 120 plants of the Albertina Sisulu Orchid is found a mere 2.5km from the Sisulu Circle as the Black Eagle flies. This area currently under threat of development which will also be encroaching on the hunting grounds of the majestic Black Eagles. The Record of Decision by the MEC to allow development in the area to proceed is currently being contested in a High Court application by community organisations.


In his presentation Karsten pointed out that if the developments were allowed to go ahead there was a very strong possibility for the orchid to become extinct in our lifetime. He pleaded for everyone to 'Do the right thing', to stop the proposed development and proclaim the area a reserve in order to preserve the orchid for generations to come and with that also preserve the memory of a very special person Ma Albertina Sisulu.


Both the ministers and the mayor of Mogale City noted that it was in everyone's best interest for the issue to be settled out of court and voiced their commitment to finding a way of settling the issue.

Read more about the Albertina Sisulu Orchid 

OrchidMap - Orchid distribution data with your assistance



Traditionally orchid distribution data was recorded by collecting herbarium specimens. OrchidMap takes the recording of orchid distribution data into the 20th century. Anyone can now contribute to the distribution data by simply uploading photos of any orchid found in its natural habitat - together with location data - into OrchidMap. Any contributions are welcome!

This location data can then used for a multitude of applications - from Environmental Impact Assessments through to determining correlations of flowering time with climatic conditions. The data is now accessible to anyone -  from the serious researcher right through to the orchid enthusiast. 

Detail location data is securely protected and maps and locations publically accessible in OrchidMap are restricted to squares of approx. 26km x 26km. 

OrchidMap is part of the Virtual Museum maintained by the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town                                                                                                                                                 

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The Birth of a Star

We have been searching for a popular name for one of the most beautiful indigenous orchids which is on the verge of extinction.

Plans are afoot to develop land at Proteadal, bordering the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, Mogale City (Krugersdorp). The last known viable colony on the planet of Brachycorythis conica subspecies transvaalensis occurs in these hills. If these plans are allowed to go ahead it may put paid to the species.

A campaign is being waged by the Proteadal Conservation Association (PCA) in the HIGH COURT to review the Record of Decision (ROD) by the Gauteng MEC approving the development that is a serious threat to the colony.

In this campaign we needed to find a common name that can be pronounced and will be recognized as the rallying point of the campaign.

We have selected the name Albertina Sisulu Orchid, honouring one of the shining stars in our history. This name has been endorsed by the Sisulu family and we have designed this logo from the painting of the flower and plant by botanical artist Daleen Roodt.

  • Brachycorythis conica ssp. Transvaalensis by Andrew Hankey

Prepared by Bill Mincher Chairmen WOSA


Launch of Wild Orchids Southern Africa


The 21st World Orchid Conference and Exhibition in Sept. 2014 in South Africa, was the event where we launched WILD ORCHIDS SOUTHERN AFRICA. WOSA built a 200m2 Wetland Exhibit in the Sandton Convention Centre featuring a Highveld, Cape and Coastal wetland.
The Exhibit was judged the best in its section and awarded a first prize for education. Wild orchids were exhibited and visitors were pleased to see our indigenous orchids in their natural environment. Brochures were distributed which explained the importance of wetlands in South Africa and discussed the WOSA philosophy.

We held an evening workshop attended, amongst others, by Dr. Noushka Reiter who isa leading researcher of Australian terrestrial orchids, and Professor Craig Peters of Rhodes University who is an expert on orchid pollination, both of whom are willing to help on the research program for our Brachycorythis conica subs. transvaalensis Research Project which is our inaugural conservation and propagation project, for this species which is under threat of extinction.
We were assisted by Mark Shuttleworth and his mother Ronelle who provided the major portion of the finances for the Exhibit and a firm financial base for the launch of WOSA.

 WOC21 Wetland Exhibit

WOC21 Wetland Exhibit

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