The members of Operation Wildflower are individuals and organisations who have an interest in indigenous plants of South Africa. This interest is stimulated by the opportunities created for acquiring desirable plants for introduction into the gardens of members. Such opportunities emerge when inevitable plant destruction caused by imminent physical development (mines, dams, roads, townships, etc.) on naturally vegetated areas becomes authorised. Operation Wildflower responds to these development announcements by obtaining permission where possible to conduct orderly and legally protected rescue operations before the plants are destroyed.
The member is prepared to travel into remote areas, search, dig, take the plants home and plant them, all at own expense and effort, for the reward that a percentage of the saved plants may grow. What percentage? It depends on the species involved, the circumstances of the overall removal, transportation and planting exercise, and on the luck of the planter (that increases with experience, sweat and learning over the years). Members may therefore be found to be somewhat strange to those not bitten by the particular wildflower bug!
Organisational members are often municipalities, educational and other institutions that have public areas to be beautified and are advantaged by having managers responsible for these tasks who display indigenous plant inclinations. Nurseries also join and collect plants to use as mother stock. Once their saved plants flower and seed, they grow seedlings that they are free to sell, thus providing plants to all gardeners and collectors on the open market. Any member who does not respect the rules by selling plants collected through Operation Wildflower, will by this action forfeit membership.