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General Information

What is a herbarium? What about specimens?

Major California Herbaria

University and Jepson Herbaria, UC Berkeley (UC/JEPS)(opens in new window)

  • The first place to go for information about California floristics and systematics.  Includes pages for searching their database of specimens at these herbaria, about updates to the The Jepson Manual, about the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium and their workshop series, and other projects.  Plus links to most other botanical resources relevant to California and North America.

California Academy of Sciences Herbarium (CAS)(opens in new window)

  • "The herbarium of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the largest collection of vascular plants in the western U.S. It is the sixth largest collection in the United States. Together with the Herbarium of the University of California at Berkeley (UC) the San Francisco Bay area is regarded as a National Resource Center for systematic botany. These two major collections have an informal agreement to avoid duplication, thus providing botanists with a rich and varied resource for research. The CAS collection includes approximately 1.84 million plant specimens. More than 95% of the specimens are vascular seed plants; the remainder are ferns and a growing collection of bryophytes. There are more than 10,400 types (holotypes, isotypes, syntypes, lectotypes, and neotypes) housed separately from the general collection, in a fireproof, cement vault."

UC Davis Herbarium (DAV)(opens in new window)

  • "We have algae, lichens, bryophytes, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms from all over the world. However, most of our collections are angiosperms from California and other parts of the United States, Mediterranean Europe, Mexico, and Ecuador. We are known for our collections of California weeds and vernal pool plants, and our grass collection is the finest in the state. Due to the research interests of the previous two directors of the Tucker Herbarium, we have a world-class collection of Quercus (Oaks) and Euphorbiaceae (the spurge family). At the present, we have about 250,000 mounted and unmounted specimens."

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Herbarium (RSA/POM)(opens in new window)

  • "The combined Herbarium of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Pomona College ("RSA-POM") is about the tenth largest in the U.S. and the third largest in the western U.S., with current holdings totaling over 1,000,000 specimens. Approximately 95% of the collection is composed of mounted sheets which are housed in four rooms (wings) within the Plant Science Center Building. The Garden's herbarium is recognized throughout the world for its strength in plants of California, which constitute nearly 40% of the total collection. The holdings from southern California are unsurpassed by any other herbarium. In recognition of its overall strength, RSA-POM has been designated a national Research Resource Collection."

Major Botanical Organizations


Northern California Botanists(opens in new window)

  • A relatively new organization, Northern California Botanists is best known for its well-attended and highly acclaimed first annual symposium, held in January 2007. "Northern California Botanists is an organization with the purpose of increasing communication about botanical issues in Northern California among agency, consulting, academic, and other botanists. Our primary objectives are to establish a communication forum via occasional meetings, an internet listserv, a scholarship fund for students working on botanical problems in Northern California, a job forum, and an annual symposium that focuses on the botany of Northern California."

California Botanical Society(opens in new window)

  • The California Botanical Society is the hub of California botany, with their journal being the central publication for scientific information about the California (and western) flora and vegetation. "The California Botanical Society was founded by Willis Linn Jepson in 1915 and has served a major role in advancing western American botany. Since 1916, the Society has published the peer-reviewed, scientific journal Madroño, the leading source of research articles on the natural history of western American botanical organisms (including those of Mexico, Central America, and South America)." 

California Native Plant Society (CNPS)(opens in new window)

  • CNPS is the premier California organization involved in issues regarding the California flora and plant communities.  "The mission of the California Native Plant Society is to increase understanding and appreciation of California's native plants, and to conserve them and their natural habitats through education, science, advocacy, horticulture and land stewardship." 

California Lichen Society (CALS)(opens in new window)

  • The California Lichen Society (CALS) seeks to promote the appreciation, conservation, and study of lichens. The focus of the Society is on California, but its interests include the entire western part of the continent. Anyone interested in California lichens may join the Society. The CALS journal, Bulletin of the California Lichen Society, is published twice a year, and includes manuscripts on technical topics in lichenology relating to western North America, notes on conservation of lichens, and news of lichenologists and their activities.

California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC)(opens in new window)

  • "Cal-IPC proposes and facilitates solutions to problems caused by invasive plants. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, formed in 1992. We are not affiliated with any state government agency. Our active membership includes public and private land managers, ecological consultants and researchers, planners, volunteer stewards, and concerned citizens. Cal-IPC is recognized as the authoritative source of new information on all aspects of wildland weed management in California."

California Native Grasslands Association (CNGA)(opens in new window)

  • "The Mission of the California Native Grasslands Association is to develop, promote, preserve and restore native grasses and grassland ecosystems of California."

CalFlora(opens in new window)

  • "The Calflora Database is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information about California plant biodiversity for use in Education, Research and Conservation. Conceived as a collaborative research project to provide access to habitat descriptions, photographs, observations, nomenclature, distribution maps, and other data on California's wild plants, Calflora is now the online gateway to information about California’s wild plants."


American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT)(opens in new window)

  • "The ASPT promotes research and teaching in the taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeny of vascular and non-vascular plants." ASPT publishes the quarterly journal Systematic Botany, and Systematic Botany Monographs. Their web site includes their quarterly newsletter and their membership directory.

Botanical Society of America (BSA)(opens in new window)

  • "The BSA exists to promote research and teaching in all fields of plant biology, to facilitate cooperation among plant biologists and other scientists worldwide, and to disseminate knowledge of plants, algae and fungi to all groups of society for ultimate application to solving practical problems of humanity." BSA publishes the journal American Journal of Botany, and their newsletter is available on their web site.

American Bryological and Lichenological Society (ABLS)(opens in new window)

  • "The American Bryological and Lichenological Society was founded in 1898. It is an organization devoted to the scientific study of all aspects of the biology of bryophytes and lichen-forming fungi and is one of the nation's oldest botanical organizations. Membership is open to all persons (professionals and amateurs) with interest in these organisms. Approximately 625 individuals currently hold membership in the Society." ABLS publishes a quarterly journal distributed world-wide, The Bryologist, which includes articles on all aspects of the biology of mosses, hornworts, liverworts and lichens.

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