Ahart Herbarium

Ahart Herbarium presents
All Things Botanically Related (Series)

Brett Hall in the Field
Brett Hall in the Field

Adventures in the Native Plant Program of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden —garden development, educational programs, field work, seed collecting and seed banking, post fire observation.
by Brett Hall
California Native Plant Program (NPP) Director, UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Registration link coming soon!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Brett Hall has worked with the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum for nearly 47 years and held many positions there over the years, building collections, developing gardens, working with students; all the while collaborating with many friends and organizations.

The NPP stewards a seed bank for native plants under the umbrella of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) and the California Plant Rescue network (CaPR). We are active participants in both programs making long term conservation collections following CPC guidelines, tracking maternal lines and conducting viability and germination trials. Additionally, we work in vegetation mapping surveys with CNPS and CDFW and as of late, post fire plots and surveys. The NPP staff and students are land stewards for a large portion of the Arboretum charged with safeguarding wild life including habitat protection for red legged frogs, many small mammals, reptiles and snakes and many many birds. Some of the animals we protect feast and reside in our gardens. Among these are deer, wood rats and rabbits!

Brett works with staff and students building collections from the wild through seed collections, cuttings and divisions, working out best methods for success in propagation and culture. They track provenance with the goal to establish collections in ecologically related plant associations in garden displays, concentrating on central coastal and northern California regions. The NPP has successful educational programs with year-round undergraduate Interactive Ecology interns and a ten week, California Naturalist Program once a year during Spring. We also host the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program under the leadership of the Program Steward who works closely with the Amah Mutsun to foster tribal participation in the development of the native plant gardens.

All Things Botanically Related - Past Presentations:


Hey, Hey we’re the Monkees! We’re too busy evolving to put anybody down.
by Steve Schoenig
Retired Branch Chief for the Biogeographic Data Branch at the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Thursday, June 16, 2022
View Presentation Recording >>(opens in new window)

California botanists are becoming more comfortable with the new family for monkeyflowers (Phrymaceae) and the "new" genera (Diplacus, Erythranthe, Mimetanthe) but there may be low awareness that the subgenus Simiolus within Erythranthe that includes the diversity of the old name Mimulus guttatus has grown from 5 species (in The Jepson Manual II) to 20 named and recognized species in California currently. Identification of these species is tricky, although half are restricted to very localized regions (like Butte County!).


The "common yellow monkey" has gone from one of the easiest identifications to one that I think most botanists are now ignoring because of unfamiliarity and the trickiness of the characters used in identification. The group is still not fully understood and may be genetically messy, but I encourage people to become more familiar with the new species recognized in this group and provide some advice on using many of the new names, especially in professionally prepared reports and lists. My talk will emphasize both the common and rare species found in the northern portion of California. If you like the color yellow, this talk is for you!


Steve Schoenig is retired Branch Chief for the Biogeographic Data Branch at the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife (CNDDB, Veg Mapping). He also led invasive weed programs at CA Dept of Food and Agriculture for many years. He is currently working on floristic studies of Death Valley NP and has continued studying monkeyflowers for the past 35 years. He is coauthor of the recently published paper: Vascular Plants of Northern Death Valley National Park (Death Valley Last Chance Range, and Eureka Valley) Hester Bell, Sarah De Groot and Steve Schoenig.


Check out more previous presentations in the All Things Botanically Related Series >>(opens in new window)

California Phenology Thematic Collections Network

Screenshot of CHH2 websiteAhart Herbarium is actively photographing specimens in the collection and linking the images to the collection information for each species. This information is accessible through the California Phenology Thematic Collections Network (www.CCH2.org(opens in new window)). Through a National Science Foundation grant, the Herbarium will be imaging over 30,000 specimens in the collection which will be similar to the one here. Collectively, over 23 different herbaria and collections across California will be located on CCH2. Check out the website!(opens in new window) 

Screenshot of CCH2 Website

Entire specimen Specimen close

Ahart Herbarium passed another minor milestone by accessioning its 120,000th specimen – see the number 120,000 stamped in the middle of the Herbarium logo on the lower left side of the sheet in the left photograph. This specimen is another fine example of the collecting and specimen mounting of Lowell Ahart – his collection number 21,434 from last summer.

Located in Holt Hall room 129, the Herbarium is the most complete repository of plant specimens from northeastern California. The emphasis is on the northern California flora, and includes a great number of rare, threatened, and endangered plant species. Established with specimens donated by the late Professor Vesta Holt in the 1950's, the herbarium now contains more than 107,000 dried and mounted plant specimens. The majority of samples are flowering plants, conifers, and ferns, but bryophytes, lichens, and especially slime molds, are also well represented. The herbarium is used extensively for identification of sensitive and other plant species by various agencies and individuals. Loans of herbarium specimens are made to any higher academic institutions who request them.

Facilities available to visitors to the herbarium include the use of high-quality dissecting scopes, a compound microscope, an extensive reference library, an internet-connected computer, an internet connection for personal computers, and, with suitable training, access to the collection of specimens.

Users of the herbarium facilities and collection are encouraged to make plant collections during their field excursions and donate them to the herbarium. This is how the collection grows and increases its utility and importance to the whole botanical community.

Friends of the Herbarium Workshop!

Introduction to Keying Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos, Ericaceae)
Saturday, June 4, 2022
9:00 AM 4:00 PM
A group considered difficult by many people, the 90+ California manzanitas are actually easy to identify once you understand the characters and how they vary. Join authors Tom Parker and Mike Vasey to learn about this iconic group of Western North American plants.
View the Friends of the Herbarium Calendar >>(opens in new window)

Herbarium Logo

We can now process book orders from Studies of the Herbarium >>

Ahart Herbarium is again open to the public!

Hours are Fridays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and by appointment.

Visiting the herbarium is by appointment only, by contacting the Curator at ljaneway@csuchico.edu.

Visitors accessing campus facilities must comply with CSU Chico vaccination policy.
Thank you.

Upcoming Workshops

Upcoming workshops from Friends of the Herbarium!

Stay tuned for upcoming fall workshop information!

Visit the event calendar(opens in new window) for more info!