San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSan Diego Natural History Museum Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias: Botany Department


Plant Atlas
Baja California Flora
Climate Change
The Collection

Botanical Services

Field Guide

Echinocereus lindsayi, photographed by Jon Rebman

Jon Rebman
or Judy Gibson
fax: 619.232.0248

The herbarium in the Botany Department houses a research collection of 165,000 specimens of native and naturalized plants of the southwestern United States (especially southern California) and northwestern Mexico (especially Baja California). The collection consists primarily of vascular plants, with significant holdings of marine algae, mostly of the eastern North Pacific. There are about 400 type specimens. The type specimen database is searchable online.

The San Diego County Plant Atlas project, a cooperative multi-agency project, began in the summer of 2002. The department's Parabotany volunteers will do the fieldwork necessary for a complete survey of the plants of San Diego County. The Plant Atlas project will run for at least five years, and will provide a web-searchable database of plant distribution information from the earliest stages of data collection.

The curatorship of the botany department is endowed as the Mary and Dallas Clark Chair of Botany.

The collection is in the care of Jon P. Rebman, Ph.D., Curator, who is a specialist in the systematics of the Cactaceae (particularly the genus Cylindropuntia) and in the floristics of the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico and San Diego and Imperial counties.

Use Policy

Please contact the department before planning to use the collections. See our policies and protocols for additional information.

Contract Services

  • Access to the collections and reference resources for identifications and distributional information searches by agency and commercial consultants.
  • Authoritative identification of plants and plant material by the curator.
  • Housing and curation of plant specimens serving as vouchers for plant surveys and other investigations.

Online Articles

Desert in Bloom
Beautiful But Bad: Pretty Plant Pests
Native Succulent Diversity and Gardening
The Natural History of Holiday Plants

Selected San Diego Natural History Museum Publications

GOULD, Frank W. & Reid MORAN. 1981.
The Grasses of Baja California, Mexico. 140 p. Memoirs of the San Diego Society of Natural History #12.

LEVIN, Geoffrey A. & Reid MORAN. 1989.
The vascular flora of Isla Socorro Island, Mexico. 72 p. Memoirs of the San Diego Society of Natural History #16.

FELGER, Richard S., Peter L. Warren, Susan ANDERSON, & Gary P. NABHAN. 1992.
Vascular Plants of a Desert Oasis: Flora and Ethnobotany of Quitobaquito, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. 1 June 1992. 39 p. illus.9-27. Proceedings of the San Diego Society of Natural History #8.

FELGER, Richard S. 1999.
The flora of Ca?on de Nacapule: a desert-bounded tropical canyon near Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, by Richard S. Felger. 30 June 1999, 42 p. illus. Proceedings of the San Diego Society of Natural History #35.

About Botany

If you want to learn more about the botany of our region, see Resources for a checklist of the Vascular Plants of San Diego County, the Cacti of San Diego County, books recommended by our staff, and other online resources and related organizations.