Click on each Garden section of the map for more information.

Map of the UC Botanical Garden The Garden Shop Oak Knoll South Africa Section California Natives Section South Africa Section Australasia Section Mediterranean Section South America Section Mexico and Central America Section Eastern North America Section New World Desert Section Asia Section Crop of The World Garden Section Garden of Old Roses Section Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden Section Herb Garden Section Tropical House Section Conference Center Arid House Section Fern and Carnivorous Plant House The Red Wood Grove Cycad and Palm Garden Section Plant Deck


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Interactive Panoroma

This area showcases the state’s extraordinarily rich native flora. Growing in the California area are more than 1,200 species, almost one quarter of all species in the state, including many of the state’s endemic and/or rare plants. The Garden recreates many of California’s most beautiful and interesting plant communities. Special community displays include an alpine fell-field, vernal pool, pygmy forest, redwood forest, chaparral, and a unique garden of plants adapted to serpentine soils. Outstanding collections include manzanitas (Arctostaphylos), California-lilacs (Ceanothus), and bulbous monocots (including Fritillaria, Calochortus, Lilium, Erythronium and Brodiaea). The collection also features many annual wildflowers, from the abundant California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), to a very rare Vine Hill clarkia (Clarkia imbricata). The most abundant displays of flowers, both annual and perennial, are seen from February through June.

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Karoo Panoroma

This southwest-facing slope contains a
stunning collection of plants from one
of the most diverse botanical regions of the world. The prominent rocky, karoo
habitat is a riot of color in spring with blooming bulbs and annuals such as Cape cowslips (Lachenalia), baboon flowers (Babiana), and Cape marigolds (Dimorphotheca). The chaparral-like fynbos beds feature fine-leaved heaths (Erica), proteas (Protea), and rush-like restios (including Restio, Elegia). Cycads, rare primitive conifer relatives older than the dinosaurs, are featured in a cliff-like simulation of their native Eastern Cape Province.

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Panoroma of the Japanese Pool

Many elements of the vast Asian flora are represented in the older part of the Garden. An outstanding array of species rhododendrons is featured, as well as many camellias, maples and hydrangeas. The first collections of dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) on the West Coast are grouped along Strawberry Creek. The Japanese Pool has a rich display of fall color with maples (Acer) and dogwoods (Cornus). This Japanese exhibit, waterfall and pool, including the rocks and a lantern,
was donated in 1939 from the San Francisco World’s Fair and Exposition. In the spring the flowering of the empress
tree (Paulownia glabrata) is spectacular. The Japanese Pool is an important breeding ground for newts (Taricha) native to upper Strawberry Canyon.

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This hillside features plants from Australia, New Zealand and high elevations of islands in the South Pacific. Representatives of the Myrtle family include tea trees (Leptospermum, Kunzea) and paper barks (Melaleuca). You will also see banksias (Banksia) and grevilleas (Grevillea) of the protea family and Southern beeches (Nothofagus). Close relatives of these plants can be found in South America and Southern Africa. This wide distribution can be traced back to an ancient geological time when these southern continents were grouped together in a single land mass called Gondwana.

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Mediterranean Panorama

Located on the steep eastern edge of the Garden, this area is evocative of the rocky slopes above the Mediterranean Sea. Featured in this area of the Garden are plants found in places ranging from the Canary Islands to Israel. There are many species of aromatic lavenders (Lavandula), oregano (Origanum), and thymes (Thymus) from Italy and France. Strawberry trees (Arbutus), rockroses (Cistus), olives (Olea europaea) and heaths (Erica) are also in this collection. Bulbs can be seen flowering in fall, winter and spring.


This area features plants ranging from the mountain highlands of the Andes to southern-most Argentina and Chile. Chile’s mattoral habitat, which has a mediterranean climate much like that of California’s, includes plants similar to those of California’s chaparral.
This area features a young grove of monkey puzzle tress (Araucaria), wild fuchsias (Fuchsia), gigantic terrestrial bromeliads (Puya), giant-leaved gunneras (Gunnera) and several species of southern beech trees (Nothofagus).

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Mesoamerica Panorama

This sunny slope at the southeast corner of
the Garden features a unique collection of plants including many utilized by the Aztecs in Mexico and the Mayans in Mexico and Central America. The western end of this area features a cloud forest habitat display. The oak-pine
woodland at the eastern end recreates habitats from the highlands of Mexico and Guatemala. Rich in salvias (Salvia) and penstemons (Penstemon), this is one of the most floriferous areas of the Garden, especially in winter. Hummingbirds are most easily observed in this collection.

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This small section of the Garden is reminiscent of the woodlands in North America east of the Mississippi River. Stands of yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), and paper birch (Betula papyrifera) create a canopy for understory specimens such as hollys (Ilex), azaleas (Rhododendron) and bayberries (Myrica). Several species featured in this area are related to those found in Asia and western North America. The fall color is especially vivid on the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), dogwood (Cornus florida) and tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).

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New World Desert Panorama

This is one of the oldest and best-known collections in the Garden with some of the plants dating back to the 1930s. Rich in cacti, succulents and herbaceous desert dwellers, the plants in this area are from North and Central American deserts, as well as the high deserts of the Andes. The Baja Peninsula beds contain flora similar to that of southwestern California deserts. The giant cacti (Echinopsis), similar to the saguaro cactus of the southwestern United States, are from South America.

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Garden of Old Roses Panorama

Situated high on the east slope of the Garden with dramatic views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, rose cultivars from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and modern roses, are under-planted with many complementary flowering annuals and perennials. This splendid display peaks in May.

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Food plants and other crops of the world are displayed.

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Situation in the midst of a towering grove of redwoods, the semicircular Townsend Amphitheater, constructed from redwood,  provides tiered seating for up to 200. A concrete dias in the central forms a focal point for events. The amphitheater has  become a  popular site for a variety of activities, such as  outdoor weddings ceremonies, musical venues and storytelling. Acoustics are excellent so that amplification is often unnecessary.

Click here to view an interactive panorama of the amphitheatre.

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This area of the Garden contains an exceptional collection of cycads, as well as palms from every continent except Antarctica, where they do not grow. The Garden's collection features hardy species that do well in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Cool outside? step into the warm, humid Tropical House and see plants from the tropical zone around the world, including many of economic value.

Click here to view an interactive panorama of the interior of the house.

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The Conference Center is centered in the Palm & Cycad collection and adjacent to the Tropical House. This facility, along with the adjacent terrace, is available for public rental for events, such as weddings, celebrations and conferences or classes. It is equipped with WiFi and a large projection screen for use with audiovisual equipment. The facility is divided into the larger Mirov Room (capacity) and adjacent Ornduff Room (capacity). Each has a small kitchen with sink, refrigerator and microwave.


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This is a semi-formal array of primarily European plants used for cooking, medicines and dye. Those used for beers and liquors, and for fragrance, are arranged around a central knot garden and sundial.

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These herbs are organized according to their function in traditional Chinese medicine.

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The Arid House contains a large collection containing about 2000 species of colorful cacti, succulents and other plants from cool dry and warm dry areas of the world.  Interpretive exhibits and dioramas highlight the biology and ecology of these plants.

Click here to view an interactive panorama of the interior of the house.

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This house contains a dynamic exhibit of the Garden's species orchids, ferns and unusual insect-eating plants.

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Redwood Grove Amphitheater Panorama

The Mather Redwood Grove,is a delightful area filled with large redwood trees that vary in height that creates an illusion of an enchanted forest.

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A small portion of the Mexican collection is located in the front of the Garden. This contains several striking plants, such as the beautiful Deppea splendens and the large weeping Pinus patula. Two large picnic tables are available for public use


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The front entrance was remodeled in 2005. The entry plaza ‘arid exotica’ was designed to showcase some of the many plants from around the world with emphasis on year-round attractiveness based on ‘waterwise’ plants.  The entrance plaza features several water conservation themes, including a ‘smart’ irrigation controller, using drip and micro-emitters, based on a local weather station and pervious concrete. The Gift Shop, Retail Plant Nursery and Arid House all border the entrance.

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The garden shop

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The plant deck

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At a high point in the midst of the California collection, the Oak Knoll provides an ideal spot for a quiet picnic or ceremony. The four picnic tables and benches are available on a first-come basis or by reservation. They provide a choice of shade or full sun but all have a spectacular view of the Garden and surrounding hills. Depending on season, the native California trillium, iris and lilies provide a colorful palette among the diverse understory of vegetation.

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