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Welcome to Nicola Bergh's homepage. I am a Specialist Scientist and Curator of Asteraceae (and other groups).

I am part of the Foundational Biodiversity Research & Services Directorate at the South African National Biodiversity Institute

Contact details:

The Compton Herbarium, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Rhodes Drive,  Newlands, South Africa, 7700


Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8724 / +27 (0)21 799 8800


Google Scholar Profile:

The Compton Herbarium
Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Rhodes Drive,  Newlands, South Africa, 7700
Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8724 / +27 (0)21 799 8800

Home: Welcome


Stoebe muirii, Stilbaai

Stoebe muirii, Stilbaai

Lasiopogon debilis, Knersvlakte

Lasiopogon debilis, Knersvlakte

Arrowsmithia corymbosa, Drakensberg

Arrowsmithia corymbosa, Drakensberg

Oedera glandulosa, Hantam

Oedera glandulosa, Hantam

Stoebe alopecuroides

Stoebe alopecuroides

I am interested in the generation and maintenance of genetic, phenotypic and taxonomic diversity. 

I have an ongoing research program elucidating the phylogenetic relationships, taxonomy and evolutionary history of Cape Asteraceae or Compositae, particularly the tribes Gnaphalieae (everlastings or immortelles) and Calenduleae (African marigolds, Namaqualand daisies).

Home: About Me


Foundational Biodiversity Research & Services, The Compton Herbarium, SANBI Kirstenbosch (2006 - present)

Council Member, Southern African Society for Systematic Biology (SASSB) - see link below

Editor, International Journal of Plant Sciences (since 2019).

Honorary Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences and Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town (2007 - present)

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Chumova, Z, Monier, Z., Šemberová, K.,  Havlíčková, E., Euston-Brown, D., Muasya, M. M., Bergh, N. G., & Trávníček, P. (accepted). Diploid and tetraploid cytotypes of the flagship Cape species Dicerothamnus rhinocerotis (Asteraceae): variation in distribution, ecological niche, morphology and genetics. Accepted for Annals of Botany Special Issue “African flora in a changing world – integrating multiple dimensions of diversity”.

In press.

Blanco-Gavaldà, C., Galbany-Casals, M., Susanna, A., Andrés-Sánchez, S., Bayer, R. J., Brochmann, C., Cron, G. V., Bergh, N. G., Garcia-Jacas, N., Gizaw, A., Kandziora, M., Filip Koláˇr, López-Alvarado, J., Leliaert, F., Letsara, R.,  Moreyra, L. D., Razafimandimbison, S. G., Schmickl, R. & Roquet, C. Repeatedly northwards and upwards: Southern African grasslands fuel the colonisation of the African sky islands in Helichrysum (Compositae). Plants 2023, 12, 2213, pp. 1 – 24.

Rob D Smissen, Randall J Bayer, Nicola G Bergh, Ilse Breitwieser, Susana E Freire, Mercè Galbany‐Casals, Alexander N Schmidt‐Lebuhn, Josephine M Ward. 2020. A revised subtribal classification of Relhaniinae (Asteraceae). Taxon 69(4): 778 - 806.

Bergh, N. G. & Manning, J. C. 2019. Achyranthemum N.G.Bergh, a new genus segregated from Syncarpha DC. (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae). South African Journal of Botany 125: 434 - 456.

Bergh, N.G. & Verboom, G.A. 2011. Anomalous capitulum structure and monoecy may confer flexibility in sex allocation and life history evolution in the Ifloga lineage of paper daisies (Compositae: Gnaphalieae). American Journal of Botany 98 (7): 1113 - 1127.

Andres-Sanchez, S., Verboom, G.A., Galbany-Casals, & M., Bergh, N.G. 2018. Phylogenetic relationships in the basal lineages of Helichrysum (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae): implications for morphological and chromosomal evolution. Plant Systematics and Evolution. doi: 10.1111/jse.12472

McKenzie, R.J. & Bergh N.G. 2018. Proposal to conserve the name Arctotis calendula (Arctotheca calendula) against Arctotis tristis (Arctotheca tristis) (Asteraceae: Arctotideae). Taxon 67(4): 813 – 814. DOI

Kemp, J.E., Bergh, N.G., Soares, & M., Ellis, A.G. 2018. Dominant pollinators drive non-random community assembly and shared flower colour patterns in daisy communities. Annals of Botany (online early 10 July 2018).

Bergh, N.G., Bentley, J., & Verboom, G.A. 2018. Classification of the Relhania generic group (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae) revisited using molecular phylogenetics. Phytotaxa 344 (2): 101 – 132. doi:

Bentley, J., Verboom, G.A., & Bergh, N.G. 2017. Species-level phylogenetic analysis in the Relhania clade of ‘everlastings’ and a new generic treatment for species previously assigned to Macowania and Arrowsmithia (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae). Taxon 66(6): 1421 – 1438. doi:

Bergh, N.G. & McKenzie, R.J. 2016. A Revision of Heterolepis (Asteraceae: Cichorioideae). South African Journal of Botany 105:194 – 210.

Bentley, J., Klaassen, E.S. & Bergh, N.G. 2015. Philyrophyllum (Asteraceae) transferred from Gnaphalieae to Athroismeae based on phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and plastid DNA sequence data. TAXON 65 (5): 975 – 986.

Bergh, N.G., Haiden, S.A. & Verboom, G.A. 2015. Molecular phylogeny of the ‘Cape snow’ genus Syncarpha (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae) reveals a need for generic re-delimitation. South African Journal of Botany (100): 219 – 227.

Verboom, G.A., Bergh, N.G., Haiden, S.A., Hoffmann, V. & Britton, M.N. 2015. Topography as a driver of diversification in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa. New Phytologist 207 (2): 368 – 376.

Bergh, N.G. & Helme, N.A. 2014. A new species of Berkheya (Asteraceae, Arctotideae) from the Northern Cape, South Africa. Bothalia 44(1), Art. #123.

Bentley, J., Verboom, G.A. & Bergh, N.G. 2014. Erosive processses after tectonic uplift stimulate vicariant and adaptive speciation: evolution in an Afrotemperate-endemic paper daisy genus. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14: 27.

Klaassen, E.S. & Bergh, N.G. 2012. Inclusion of the Cape genus Anisothrix in the Namibian-centred genus Pentatrichia (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae) based on molecular phylogenetic analysis. South African Journal of Botany 78: 2 – 11.

Bergh, N.G., Trisos, C.H. & Verboom, G. A. 2011. Phylogeny of the ‘Ifloga clade’ (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae), a lineage occurring disjointly in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and inclusion of Trichogyne in synonymy with Ifloga. TAXON 60 (4):1065 - 1075.

Bergh, N.G., Nordenstam, B. 2010. Psednotrichia perennis (Asteraceae, Senecioneae): A new species from the Huila plateau, Angola. South African Journal of Botany. 76: 369 - 374

Bergh, N.G. & Linder, H. P. 2009. Cape diversification and repeated out-of-southern-Africa dispersal in paper daisies (Asteraceae - Gnaphalieae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (Special Issue: Origins and Evolution of a Biodiversity Hotspot, the Biota of the African Cape Floristic Region) 51 (1): 5 – 18.

Bergh, N. G., Hedderson, T. A. H., Linder H. P. & Bond W. J. 2007.Palaeoclimate-induced range shifts may explain current spatial patterns of genetic variation in renosterbos (Elytropappus rhinocerotis, Asteraceae). TAXON (56) 2: 393 – 408.

N.G. Bergh, G.A. Verboom, M. Rouget & R. M. Cowling. 2014. Vegetation types of the Greater Cape Floristic Region. Ch. 1, pp. 1-25  in: Allsopp, N., Verboom, G.A. & Colville, J.C. (eds.). Fynbos: Ecology, Evolution and Conservation of a Megadiverse Region. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

G. A. Verboom, H. P. Linder, F. Forest, V. Hoffmann, N. G. Bergh & R. M. Cowling, 2014. Cenozoic assembly of the Greater Cape flora. Ch. 5, pp. 93-118 in: Allsopp, N., Verboom, G.A. & Colville, J.C. (eds.). Fynbos: Ecology, Evolution and Conservation of a Megadiverse Region. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

key cover.png

Digital identification tool:

A digital interactive key to the Relhania clade of southern African daisies, using Delta-Intkey.

Bronwynne Busch & Nicola Bergh, January 2013

The Relhania clade is a group of about 120 species of mostly southern-African daisies that forms the sister group to the large, global radiation of gnaphalioid daisies.

This interactive key can be started from any character, and features illustrations of all characters, and all aspects of each species including geographic distribution maps. 

Install and, then extract and double click on to launch the key. Please read the introductory text accessible via the top left book icon on the intkey screen before using the key. 

Please note that this is a test version of the key. You can help us to improve it by sending comments and suggestions to: N.Bergh -at-

Home: About Me

Postgraduate and intern supervision

Home: Experience


Zaynab Shaik (current): Multi-locus species-level phylogenetics and evolution of the Stoebe clade (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae)


Robert Sadler (current): Phylogeny of the daisy tribe Calenduleae.

Lauren James (current): Taxonomy and reproductive ecology in Osteospermum section Polygalinae (Asteraceae; Calenduleae).

Thaabiet Parker (current): Phylogeny and taxonomy of the Cape marigold genus Dimorphotheca (Asteraceae; Calenduleae).

Zaynab Shaik (2019): Assessing species limits and the determinants of genetic differentiation in the Seriphium plumosum L. complex (Gnaphalieae: Asteraceae), a Cape Floristic Region-centred clade in South Africa.

Joanne Bentley (2010): Phylogenetics and biogeography of the relhanioid paper-daisy lineage (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae): palaeoenvironmental evolution, migration and speciation in southern Africa and the greater Afrotemperate regions.


Kumreshini Pillay (2021)

Sonja Stock (2021)

Zafar Monier (2021)

Robert Sadler (2019)

Thaabiet Parker (2019)

Klara Beckerling (2018)

Zaynab Shaik (2016)

Campbell Fleming (2015)

Sarah Haiden (2011)

Joanne Bentley (2010)

Christpher Trisos (2007)

Muri Soares (2007)

Andrew Letten (2005)


Dr. Santiago Andrés Sánchez.  Smuts Fellowship, 2013 - 2014. Project: phylogenetic and cytogenetic studies in Helichrysum Mill. (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae) in the Cape.

Dr. Saúl Manzano Rodríguez. Smuts Fellowship, April 2021 - April 2022. Project: COMPOSITAS-SA: COMpositae POllen Study and Identification of Types for Applied Science in South Africa


Mandisi Sithole Dec 2006 - Feb 2007 Kirstenbosch Internship Programme

Itumeleng Moroenyane Dec 2006 - Feb 2007 Kirstenbosch Internship Programme

Zaynab Shaik Apr 2018 - Mar 2019. Joan Wrench Kirstenbosch Internship Programme

Lauren James Apr 2021 - Mar 2023. Joan Wrench Kirstenbosch Internship Programme

Khanya Ntondini Apr 2023 - current. Joan Wrench Kirstenbosch Internship Programme.

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These opportunities are now closed. Applications for 2022 will open in the second half of 2021.

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Joan Wrench Kirstenbosch Scholarship funded projects for 2021

BSc(Hons) 2021: Evolution of fruit form and function in the Cape daisy tribe Calenduleae

BSc(Hons) 2021: Polyploidy in the renosterbos, Elytropappus rhinocerotis

MSc 2021-2022: Phylogeny and taxonomy of the genus Osteospermum (Asteraceae: Calenduleae)

PhD 2021 - 2023: Phylogeny and evolution of the African marigolds (Asteraceae: tribe Calenduleae)

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