Botany Department


Principal Museum Scientist
and Head of Department

Dr PC Zietsman is a National Museum Staff Member in the Botany Department

PC Zietsman PhD  ziets [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Ziets obtained his BSc, BSc Hons and MSc at the University of Pretoria, majoring in Botany and Zoology.  He researched biological nitrogen fixation at Nylsvley Nature Reserve for his Masters thesis. He obtained his PhD in Botany at the University of the Orange Free State in 1988. The title of his thesis is: Reproductive Biology of Ziziphus mucronata subsp. mucronata (Rhamnaceae). In 1983 he took up a post as Museum Scientist to be the first botanist employed at the Museum. In 2003 he obtained a Masters degree in Environmental Management from the University of the Free State. The title of this mini-thesis was: Sustainable harvesting of Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens): A community based conservation approach. His main interest is the sustainable utilisation of medicinal plants and biodiversity. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) at the University of the Free State. He is also a renowned nature and wildlife photographer.

Assistant Museum Scientist

Elmarie van Rensburg MSc elmarie [dot] nel [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Elmarie obtained a BSc degree in Genetics, majoring in Botany and Genetics, and an Honours degree in Botany at the University of the Free State. She was appointed as Assistant Museum Scientist in the Botany Department in January 2011.  Elmarie spent four months (November 2014 to February 2015) in Vienna, Austria, participating in an International Research Staff Exchange Scheme:  hERG Related Risk Assessment of Botanicals.  This was in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State.  Medicinal plants from South Africa collected by the Botany Department were screened for hERG channel inhibition at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Vienna. 

Elmarie graduated with an MSc in December 2016.  The title of her thesis is: hERG channel inhibitors in South African medicinal plants with the focus on Boophone disticha (Amaryllidaceae) bulbs.



Senior Research Assistant

Louise Zietsman is a National Museum Staff Member in the Botany Department

Louise Zietsman     louise [dot] zietsman [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za

Louise obtained her BSc (majoring in Botany and Zoology), BSc Hons (cum laude) and Higher Education Diploma at the University of Pretoria. She worked as Herbarium Assistant at the Museum from 1985–1986. She interrupted her career to attend to her family and after 16 years started working again, first at the University of the Free State in the Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and also at the Centre for Environmental Management.  She returned to the Museum in November 2008 as Senior Research Assistant responsible for the collection.

General Assistant