South Africa has every right to take pride in its rich and unique botanical diversity. As part of investigating the discipline of botany in the country,we have assessed the contents of five botany-related South African journals in the period 1988-2002, analysing the sub-disciplines, affiliations of the contributors, and the age, gender and race of the first authors. The results show various trends, such as a decline in the number of articles during the 1990s and then an increase in 2001 and 2002. A specific niche for each of the five journals has been identified. These journals have adopted strategies and introduced improvements to survive change in the evolving scientific environment. Most articles are from authors in the age group 31-40; men accounted for 68% of botanical papers and women 32%. Whites authored 94%, and other racial groups 6%. The botanical sciences are among the leaders in South African research publications in terms of output and citations.