Supporting Plant Conservation
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden was founded in part to help you make a difference.
Through this site and the Garden’s other web pages we invite you to learn more about the Garden and plant conservation. If you have questions about the RSABG Conservation Program please contact Naomi Fraga.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Conservation activities
In-situ (on-site) conservation programs at RSABG:
Regional floristic surveys
Focused rare plant surveys, mapping and monitoring
Rare plant protection and restoration programs
Ecological, biological and genetic research
Ex-situ (off-site) conservation programs at RSABG:
Curation and maintenance of both living and preserved botanical collections
Native plant propagation research
Native plant propagation programs for recovery projects
Public and professional education programs
The Field Studies Program at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden aims to support conservation of the California native flora through field-based activities undertaken by skilled staff botanists. We participate in floristic inventories, monitor the status of rare plants and work closely with partnering institutions to develop species management guides and conservation strategies. Floristic-based research is core to the program because knowledge of the California flora is vital to ongoing conservation efforts. Staff work closely with local agencies providing expertise on the California flora (especially Southern California), and have a strong commitment to conserving California’s native plants.
The Field Studies program can provide the following services:
Common garden studies
Species management guides
Plant identification services
Rare plant surveys and monitoring
Currently we participate annually in contract agreements with the Angeles and San Bernardino national forests. Through these agreements we conduct general and focused botanical surveys and rare plant monitoring. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has also collaborated with Angeles National Forest producing several species management guides and A Field Guide to the Rare Plants of the Angeles National Forest.
We are proud partner with the BLM working on the Seeds of Success program. We are working to collect, conserve and develop native plant material for restoration on BLM lands in the California Desert District. Read more about Seeds of Success at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
One unpaid internship is offered for undergraduate students looking to gain hands on experience in botanical field research. Internships are available beginning in March and can continue into August, typically running 5-10 weeks. Interested students should contact Naomi Fraga for more information.We also occasionally offer paid internships, please see our employment page for upcoming opportunities.
The Laboratory Studies program conducts research on the genetic composition of California plants. Excellent laboratory facilities (e.g., 3130xl genetic analyzer, electron and light microscopy, long-term ultracold storage) coupled with the expertise of Rancho staff enables the program to undertake projects requiring design, data collection and data analyses. Our goal is to provide objective, scientifically based information to government agencies and private organizations to aid in natural resource management.
The Laboratory Studies program provides the following services:
Genetic fingerprinting and detection of hybrids
Examples of Recent Projects:
Willowy Monardella (Monardella linoides subspecies viminea)?
Willowy monardella is a species of mint endemic (restricted) to San Diego county and adjacent regions in Mexico. This species is closely related to Monardella linoides, also restricted to the southwestern U.S. RSABG collected comparative DNA sequence data to help determine the exact relationship between willowy monardella and its closest relatives. Additional population genetic data (ISSRS) were also used to elucidate relationships among taxa in this species group (Monardella linoides and Monardella odoratissima complex). These data have been used to help develop a federal management strategy for this species.
Peirson's Milkvetch (Astragalus magdalenae variety peirsonii)
Peirson's milkvetch is a Southern California/Sonora plant of very restricted distribution. We collected phylogenetic data (DNA sequence data) and population genetic data (AFLPs) to determine the relationship among the populations in Southern California and the population in Mexico. We estimated evolutionary relationships among close relatives of this species as well. The Sonoran (Mexico) population of Peirson's Milkvetch is genetically distinct from the Californian population.
While we strive to grow the largest sample of California native plants possible, we focus on the long-lived perennial plant life of Southern California and Baja. Living collections of plants can serve several roles in an integrated, ex-situ (offsite) conservation plan.
Living collections are well suited to short- or medium-term housing for plants destined for reintroduction, longer term retention of critically endangered plants and bulking up collections for reintroduction or long-term seed storage. The Living Collection at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden fills all three of these roles, frequently in collaboration with other botanic gardens, local government and non-governmental conservation agencies. The Living Collections are a valuable research and educational collection that promotes the study of our native plants and facilitates the communication of the importance of plant conservation.
Read more about the Living Collection at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
The primary function of RSABG's Seed Conservation Program is the curation and management of the Garden's extensive seed collection. The collection is comprised of over 3,000 accessions representing more than 1,600 California native plant species and cultivars. These collections serve a diverse community in the conservation, botanical, research, education and horticultural fields.
Read more about the Seed Conservation Program at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.