Flora Zambesiaca (FZ)

The definitive manual and identification tool for the vascular plant species of South-Central Africa, drained by the Zambezi (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana and the Zambezi Region of Namibia).


The Flora Zambesiaca (FZ) programme, led by Kewinvolves the research, analysis, writing and publication of a regional Flora (in around 53 parts) for south-central Africa, covering Botswana, the Caprivi Strip (Zambezi Region) in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The project started in 1960 and was designed to delimit, describe, name, and provide a definitive catalogue of the plant species of the area, a means to identify them using keys, and an indication of their habitat and distribution.

The total Flora is estimated at 10,500 species, of which around 90% have been published to date in 45 parts, taking up 55cm of shelf-space. In some families more than half the species were discovered, described and named during the life of the project.

It is intended that the Flora will be complete by the end of 2024, making it only the third Tropical Regional Flora ever to have been concluded, following the conclusion of the Flora of West Tropical Africa (2nd Ed. 1972) and the Flora of Tropical East Africa (2012).

The many partner institutions involved are listed below. They include national herbaria in the region and institutions across Europe. Many family treatments have been prepared by past and present Kew Science staff.

The Tropical Important Plant Areas Mozambique project, (TIPAs) also depends on FZ data for the identification of conservation priority species, their distribution and favoured habitats.

Post-Flora products such as national checklists and Floras (for example Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique) are already being based on FZ. The Southern African Plants Specialist Group Regional Redlisting Authority for plants also depends upon Flora Zambesiaca.

Kew leads this project.


  • To provide definitive descriptions and links to other works for all the wild vascular plant species of South-Central Africa.
  • To enable identification of all vascular plant species in South-Central Africa.
  • To provide a foundation upon which conservation assessments of plant species in South-Central Africa can be made.

The following final families are in the process of being completed (2021-2024):

  • Commelinaceae - R. Faden (Botany Dept., Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC)
  • Compositae - tribes 6-12, D. J. N. Hind and collaborators
  • Hyacinthaceae - B. Stedje (University of Oslo) and S. Kativu (University of Zimbabwe)


  • National Botanic Gardens, Meise


  • National Herbarium, Zomba



  • National Botanical Research Institute, Windhoek


  • University of Oslo


  • IICT Herbarium, Lisbon
  • University of Coimbra

South Africa

  • South African National Biodiversity Institute
  • Buffelskloof Herbarium, Lydenberg


  • Forestry Department Herbarium, Kitwe
  • Mt Makulu Herbarium, Lusaka


  • National Herbarium & Botanic Gardens, Harare
  • Flora of Zimbabwe website, Harare
  • University of Zimbabwe, Harare

Krukoff Trust


Flora of Zimbabwe

Flora of Mozambique



Kew Strategic Outputs

Plants of the World Online portal

Tropical Important Plant Areas