John B. LOWE's picture

UC Botanical Garden launches search portal on updated website

The University of California Botanical Garden is busy upping its game in the virtual world: besides a spiffy, attractive, revised website, with social features and expanded content, a new search engine for the Garden's present and past specimens has been released to the public.  You can find the link to the new search engine on the Garden's Collections page, the Search Plant Database link:

Screenshot of the Search Plant Database link on the UC Botanical Garden portal

Or you can just navigate directly to it at Once at the new search site, you'll see an impressive set of search criteria you can use to identify specimens of interest:

UC Botanical Garden search portal (800 px width)

(Click for a higher resolution image of the screenshot, above.)

For example,

Wondrously exotic orchids:

Stanhopea. Chiapas, Mexico. Family: ORCHIDACEAE. Flower Color: yellow, with reddish spots. 68.1449
Stanhopea.  Chiapas, Mexico. Family: ORCHIDACEAE.  Flower Color: yellow, with reddish spots.  68.1449

Himalyan Cypress from Bhutan

Himalayan Cypress. Cupressus torulosa D. Don ex Lamb. Family: CUPRESSACEAE. Bhutan 74.1004
Himalayan Cypress. Cupressus torulosa D. Don ex Lamb. Family: CUPRESSACEAE. Bhutan  74.1004

Most of the Garden's specimens don't have images (yet!), so you'll need to actually make a visit to see what is there. And blooming.
The following quote from the Collections page gives an idea of the scope of the collection:

This worldwide collection features plants of documented wild origin from nearly every continent, with an emphasis on plants from mediterranean climates (California, Mediterranean Basin, Australia, South Africa, and Chile).

The arrangement of the outdoor collections is primarily geographic by continent of origin or by region including Asia, Australia, California, Eastern North America, Mediterranean, Mexico/Central America, Deserts of the Americas​, South America, and South Africa.

By the numbers, the 34-acre garden holds:

  • 285+ families
  • 2,404 genera
  • 9,071 species
  • 11,000 taxa
  • 16,000+ living accessions

All 16,000-plus living accessions (each representing one or more plants in the Garden) are recorded in CollectionSpace, an open source museum collection management system, which includes the information of over 52,000 accessions digitized for the Garden to date, including many “dead plant” records. Information recorded for each accession includes family, genus, species, accession number, collector, date of collection, original locality, habitat data, and location in the Garden.

The Garden is especially lush and beautiful now that the rains have come in earnest -- consider a visit in person, or a virtual visit via the new Portal.  And feel free to contact the curator, Holly Forbes, if you have questions or comments about the Portal or the collection.