The SBBG Herbarium represents the region's largest scientific collection of preserved central coast plants. Collectively, the specimens document the ecology and geography of the region's plant diversity. The information content of such specimens can not be duplicated in words, photographs, or other media, and forms the basis for ongoing scientific research in ecology, floristics, taxonomy, and conservation biology.
With current holdings of 150,000 specimens of California taxa, including vascular plants, mosses, and lichens, the herbarium represents an important cultural heritage and intellectual trust, and is used extensively for scientific, educational, and resource management purposes. In recent years, over 80 plant systematists from around the world have consulted the Garden’s collections in support of their work.
Additionally, these collections have supported conservation efforts related to several threatened taxa. For instance, SBBG specimens of the Vandenberg monkeyflower (Mimulus fremontii var. vandenbergensis) have enabled the US Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the original distribution of the species in Santa Barbara County, which in turn expedited field surveys, and initiated a process of identifying critical habitat for this species.
Clifton Smith Herbarium
The Garden's herbarium is named in honor of Clifton F. Smith (1920-1999), long-time student of the regional flora and author of A Flora of the Santa Barbara Region, California, published by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Capra Press.
The herbarium collections have a strong representation of areas managed by the Los Padres National Forest, Channel Islands National Park, the California National Guard (Camp Roberts and Camp San Luis Obispo), the U. S. Navy (Point Mugu, San Clemente Island, and San Nicolas Island), and the U. S. Army (Fort Hunter Liggett).
The herbarium includes the principal collections of E. R. (Jim) Blakley (Santa Barbara region), Charis Bratt (California lichens), E. R. Chandler, Hugh and Margaret Dearing (California), Clare Hardham (Santa Lucia Mountains), Ralph Hoffmann (Channel Islands and Mojave Desert), Steven Junak (California Islands), Martin Piehl (Channel Islands), Clifton Smith (Santa Barbara region), and Shirley Tucker (lichens).
In addition to general representation of the California Floristic Province, the herbarium has a strong representation of lichens and vascular plants from the California islands, and a good representation of vascular plants from the Santa Lucia and western Transverse Ranges of the central coast region. Historic and unusual horticultural trees and shrubs in the City of Santa Barbara are also well represented.
SBBG Herbarium on the Web
The Herbarium's acronym, designated by the International Association of Plant Taxonomists, is SBBG.
The Garden maintains several electronic databases, which provide information on the SBBG Herbarium lichen and vascular plant collections, the flora of California, and the flora of the Central Coast Bioregion. SBBG Herbarium records are available through the Consortium of California Herbaria online database, a gateway to information from California vascular plant specimens that are housed in herbaria throughout the state. SBBG Lichen specimens are maintained on the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria website. Please contact Dieter Wilken with any questions about the SBBG Herbarium collection online.
SBBG Herbarium Loans and Specimen Access
Loans of specimens are made only to institutions listed in the International Society of Plant Taxonomist's Index Herbariorum. For information on access to and loans from the SBBG herbarium collections:
Please contact the Herbarium Curator or telephone (805) 682-4726 ext. 105.
Visitors planning to study specimens in the herbarium should make arrangements prior to the visit as space is limited.