The Bolus Herbarium, established in 1865, is the oldest functioning herbarium in South Africa. As part of an academic institution its primary function is to aid in the teaching and research of the diversity of the southern African flora, particularly that of the Cape Floristic Region. Research associated with the herbarium focuses mainly on taxonomy, systematics, biogeography and ecology. With a collection of over 350 000 specimens, it is the third largest herbarium in South Africa and the third largest university Herbarium in the southern Hemisphere. The collection is recognized for its superb representation of the Cape Flora and the large number of type specimens housed.