The Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) was established in 1993, originally as the Institute for Plant Conservation. The Unit was founded by Richard Cowling, who led the Institute from 1993 to 2000, as a result of a generous endowment to the University of Cape Town made by Mr Leslie Hill. Timm Hoffman was appointed as Director in 2001. Dave Richardson served as the Deputy Director from 1993 to 2004 and Lindsey Gillson joined the team as the Deputy Director in 2006.


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Prof. Timm Hoffman

Director: 2001 - present

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Prof. Lindsey Gillson

Deputy Director: 2006 - present


Prof. Richard Cowling

First Director: 1993 - 2000


Prof. Dave Richardson

Deputy Director: 1993 - 2004

Leslie Hill - Tribute to a plant lover

Leslie Hill receiving his 'Gift to the Earth' award with former president Nelson Mandela (Photo: Veld & Flora)
Leslie Hill was a remarkable person to all who knew him and is remembered above all for the enduring legacy that he left this country that arose out of his fondness for plant. He passed away in January 2003. Below are four tributes to this humble man who did so much for plant conservation in the fynbos and succulent karoo biomes. It was Leslie’s endowment to the University of Cape Town in 1992 that established the Leslie Hill Chair of Plant Conservation, which is currently held by Timm Hoffman, the director of the Plant Conservation Unit.

*The making of a legacy 
by Timm Hoffman & John Rourke

*So you like succulents too
by Richard Cowling

Visits with Leslie 
by Steven Hammer

My friend Les
by Philip Desmet

These articles appeared in Veld & Flora - whose permission to use these articles on our website we gratefully acknowledge.

*Veld & Flora 89(2): 44 - 45 (June 2003) & Veld & Flora 89(3): 92 - 93 (September 2003).