The Seeds of Success (SOS) team at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has been responsible for greatly expanding international seed bank holdings from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
A recent expedition to a collection site on the Pacific Crest Trail is rewarded with a copious yield of the shrub saltbrush (Atriplex canescens). The four-wing saltbrush codominates desert plant communities in Southern California and is a food source for the desert tortoise. The saltbrush seed collection will ultimately help build an ample national and international seed bank to maintain and restore resilient native plant communities after environmental damage such as fire or urban development.
Thank you to all of our supporters who donated to The Garden Fund this year! The Garden Fund for 2013-14 is almost over for the fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2014. To have your name listed on our Garden Fund Honor Roll in "Garden Variety", please inform the Development Office of your gift by June 30, 2014.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has enjoyed an outpouring of generosity that will make a real difference in every aspect of the RSABG experience, from educational opportunities for young people to support for the maintenance and growth of our Claremont and West Los Angeles nursery sites.
Participation in The Garden Fund is vital to the success of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s mission. With your continued support, we look forward to preserving, protecting and propagating California native plants for their natural beauty and for the well-being of our planet.
The Garden is thriving, thanks in no small part to the role and importance of plant curation.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is a museum of plants—a living collection. The Garden’s curated living collection contains more than 22,000 plants, representing nearly 1,400 species, hybrids and cultivars of native California flora.
To effectively take care of this vast collection, an accession system is vital to the overall wellbeing of the Garden. Plant curation, like art curation, involves the meaningful organization of information about a collection.
The newest issue of RSABG’s scientific publication Aliso: A Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany was published April 2014.
Aliso Volume 30 issue (September 2012) features peer-reviewed articles authored by graduates of the botany program (Victor Steinmann, Ph.D. (CGU Class of 2001), director of the Instituto de Ecología in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico, wrote about Euphorbia, and an article on monkeyflowers (formerly Mimulus, now Erythranthe) from Naomi Fraga, M.S. (CGU Class of 2005) and CGU Ph.D. candidate, and a RSABG conservation botanist.
Fraga N.S. 2012. A Revision of Erythranthe montioides and Erythranthe palmeri (Phrymaceae), with descriptions of five species of monkeyflowers from California and Nevada, USA. Aliso 30: 49-68. Read more.
Other articles contributed by RSABG research associates include: Jim André, director of the Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, University of California, Riverside, Kelso, CA, and Rudolf Schmid, professor emeritus, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley (coauthored with his daughter Mena Schmid). Sherwin Carlquist, professor emeritus of botany, Claremont Graduate University and Pomona College, presents new findings on wood anatomy.
A Real Page Turner
New event highlights rare books held in Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s library special collections.
We will be celebrating special occasions or visits of honored guests with the ceremonial page turning of great books such as Redouté’s Les Roses.
Visitors can come into the library to see the current selection of prized rare book holdings. Please inquire at the California Garden Shop next time you visit the Garden to see a sample of special volumes in the RSABG collection and the informative display created by RSABG staff and volunteers.
Keeping traditional landscapes healthy in Southern California uses up to 70 percent of our potable water, requires gross amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, and produces countless emissions from maintenance equipment and contributes to some of the planet’s worst air quality. But there is a better way! By choosing the right plants for the right place, we can create truly sustainable landscapes—landscapes that thrive on little or no supplemental water and little, if any, fertilizers or pesticides. Best yet, sustainable landscapes rarely need to be hedged, edged or mowed and that saves us all both time and money.
In September 2012, Professor Lucinda McDade, Judith B. Friend Director of Research at RSABG (and as of July 2013, Executive Director), received a supplement of approximately $50,000 to the current RSABG grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to digitize and georeference data from about a quarter of a million herbarium specimens of California plants.
The supplement will support the full participation of the herbaria of UCLA and California State University, Sacramento, in the NSF-supported project and in the California Consortium of Herbaria (CCH). The consortium is a collaboration of 22 California herbaria as well as the New York Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. It acts as a gateway to information for scientifically verified, vouchered information about California plants. The grant supplement will support databasing of about 30,000 specimens held at these two herbaria. The records will be available online to plant scientists from around the world, as well as to the public, via the CCH’s website.
New graduates students join botany cohort with Fall 2012 semester and one student completes her Ph.D.
This fall semester, which began September 4, members of the graduate program welcomed four new students to the Claremont Graduate University Department of Botany at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Congratulations to Saeideh Mashayekhi, the newest CGU alumna in botany.
The RSABG Library regularly acquires new resources that compliment and enhance the collection. Whether we purchase material, receive gifts, donations or exchange with other botanical institutions, the RSABG collections continue to grow.
Library hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. until 12 p.m., 1 until 4 p.m.
by Bart O’Brien O’Brien, RSABG director of special projects and co-curator of When They Were Wild
This article first appeared in the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden membership newsletter Garden Variety, Winter 2013
California’s rich plant life has captured the imagination of horticulturists, scientists and artists for more than a century.
A collaborative project of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants, When They Were Wild interprets the unique diversity of the California flora from its origins to its current popularity.
This diversity has been depicted by talented artists who were also amateur naturalists, including Alice Brown Chittenden, Clara Mason Fox and James Milford Zornes. Illustrations by these and other artists, complemented by herbarium collections (museum specimens of dried plants), publications and ephemera, depict an era when many of these species passed from growing wild into domestication.
Some 200 items in the exhibition from the three collaborating institutions and from a number of other public and private collections tell the story of the iconic beauty of California plants and share the botanical, ecological and horticultural nature of native flowers.
Over the past three years, I have gathered and cataloged RSABG’s holdings that will be part of the exhibit and/or part of the extensive online resources for the exhibit. Irene Holiman, RSABG’s library specialist, and two Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Interns, Jessica Torres in 2012 and Jessica Dewberry in 2010, have been immensely helpful. Torres and Dewberry were indispensable in researching and writing up the artists’ biographies as well as scanning a wide array of paintings and documents.
The exhibit will be organized around several themes: a brief introduction to the biological setting of California; the discovery, describing, cataloging and depiction of California wildflowers; the science and horticulture of California wildflowers and a gallery featuring dozens of images that we’ve nicknamed “the garden.”
Many of these artists portrayed dozens to hundreds of California wildflowers. These works illustrate remarkable stories of beautiful plants. These stories are the stuff of legends; they meld scientific discovery and horticulture.
On display will be RSABG’s first edition copy of the original published image of the first California native plant to flower in cultivation in Europe: beach sand verbena (Abronia umbellata). This California wildflower was described and published by Jean Baptiste Lamarck in 1791 in his landmark 21-volume treatise, Tableau Encyclopedique et Methodique des Trois Regnes de la Nature.
As with many early images of California’s flora, this one has quite a backstory. The seeds of the plant were collected in Monterey in September of 1786, by Jean-Nicholas Collignon of the La Pérouse Expedition. This French expedition’s two ships, L’Astrolabe and La Boussole, carried the first non-Spanish European explorers to reach California’s shores since Sir Francis Drake’s landing in 1579. From California, the expedition crossed the Pacific and landed in Macao, and then traveled north until they reached Petropavlovsk on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula on September 7, 1787.
The expedition departed from Petropavlovsk on September 30, 1787, but left Jean Baptiste Barthélemy de Lesseps to carry the expedition’s materials overland in order to report to the French Ambassador in St. Petersburg.
It took de Lesseps an entire year to reach St. Petersburg. From there, he traveled to Paris arriving on October 17, 1788. The La Pérouse Expedition was subsequently lost and was never seen again, leaving de Lesseps the only survivor.
Interestingly, the botanist Jean Baptiste Lamarck writes that the beach sand verbena had been growing in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris since 1788. In my research, I have not been able to ascertain whether the seeds were sown and germinated in 1788 (highly likely) or whether they were blooming in 1788 (highly unlikely, given the time frame). In any event, it is clear that this sand verbena is the first known California native plant to be grown from seed to flowering in Europe.
- BGCI Staff Hosted by RSABG
- Where They Grow Wild
- Rare Plant Treasure Hunt
- Great Backyard Bird Count
- Spring Hours at Grow Native Nursery
- Morawetz Orobanchaceae Research Updates
- McDade Featured Speaker at Biodiversity Conference
- RSABG in Center for Plant Conservation Publication
- GNN in the Veterans Garden
- Becoming a Nature Interpreter
- Matching Gift Challenge Met
- Volunteer at the Garden
- Fall Planting Tips
- Undergrad Reseach Workshop
- RSABG’s oak collection ranked 28th in the world
- Seed Processing Manual goes to 2nd printing
- Native artisan baskets and pottery
- RSABG co-hosts 2010 National Children and Youth Garden Symposium
- Claremont High School students show off research at RSABG
- Green Tips for Earth Day
- RSABG chosen Best of LA 2010
- Rare Plant Treasure Hunt
- World travelers: RSABG botanists
- Botany Students Land Research Grants
- Fraga Awarded 2010 Switzer Fellowship
- Rare Botanical Folk Art Revealed
- Curating the plant specimens of the Thorne collection
- New articles by Professor Prince
- RSABG Research Welcomes Visiting Scholars
- Sorting out the Ruellieae Family Tree
- 'Reimagining the California Lawn'
- Claremont Unified School Board honors RSABG
- 2011 Volunteer Service Awards
- Columbus Advances to Professor of Botany
- Growing Green Jobs with Ahmanson Grant
- BCM Foundation Grant Helps Kids Get Outdoor Education
- RSABG Scientists at 2011 Botany Conference
- Solarization of Fay's Wildflower Meadow
- Make Room for Wildlife
- Botany Students Earn Grants
- Botanist Recognized for Outstanding Scientific Presentation
- Native Landscapes: The Albrigos
- California Native Plants: Poodle-dog Bush
- Garden Helps Prepare Job Seekers for Green Horticulture Jobs
- Lenz Sculpture Collection
- RSABG Hosts Invasive Plants and Pathogen Workshop
- Post-Doc Earns National Geographic Society Grant
- A Manzanita Lost and Found
- Searching for the Plant Families
- Two New DIGG Awards
- Botanists Travel Briefs
- Plant Safari
- CPC Annual Meeting 2012
- LaFleur to Direct Horticulture at the Garden
- New Student Grants and Visiting Scientists
- David Rogers' Big Bugs
- Horticulture and Propagation of Native Plants at the Garden
- The Mediterranean City Conference 2012
- USFWS 2011 Recovery Champion
- Wall Awarded Important Conservation Award
- Volunteer in Angeles National Forest
- Botanizing Around the Globe
- Become a Fan of Getting Native
- Bumper Crop of Interns at the Garden
- Porter and Morawetz NSF Grant Awards