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 in the SBBG Herbarium c. 1950

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.

Herbarium Collections

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

Consortium of California Herbaria logo

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 vascular plant specimen records are available through the Consortium of California Herbaria 2 online database (www.cch2.org), a gateway to information from California vascular plant specimens that are housed in herbaria throughout the state. SBBG lichen specimen records are maintained on the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria website (lichenportal.org/cnalh). SBBG macrofungus specimen records are maintained on the MyCoPortal website (mycoportal.org/portal/index.php). Please contact Curator C. Matt Guilliams with any questions about the SBBG vascular plant or macrofungus collections ([email protected]). Contact Curator Rikke Naesborg with any questions about the SBBG lichen collection ([email protected]).

SBBG Herbarium Loans and Specimen Access

Loans of specimens may be made to institutions listed in the International Society of Plant Taxonomist's Index Herbariorum. For general loan information or for questions regarding loans from the vascular plant or macrofungus collections, please contact Curator C. Matt Guilliams by telephone (805) 682-4726 ext. 124, or by email at [email protected]. For questions regarding lichen specimen loans, please contact Curator Rikke Naesborg at [email protected].

Specimens may also be accessed and studied in person at SBBG by appointment. Please contact the appropriate curator to plan your visit. Same day requests typically cannot be accommodated.