All in-person UC Botanical Garden exhibitions are suspended during this time. Please check back for the most current information or email with questions.

Seasonal Exhibitions

Plants Illustrated

The Plants Illustrated exhibition held in conjunction with the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists, invites viewers to explore the relationship between scientific study and fine art. The exhibit presents original artworks in watercolor, graphite, colored pencil and pen & ink and explores the many styles, forms and approaches unique to botanical art and illustration. Artist gallery sitters are on hand at the exhibit to answer questions and guide you through the show.

2021 A Virtual Exhibit of Extraordinary Plants

2020 Rare and Endangered Plants of the World

2019 Celebrating Ethnobotany

Fiber & Dye

Learn more about the world of natural fibers and dyes. From traditional uses to inspired future innovation in eco-fashion and textiles, a walk through our exhibit illuminates the connection of culture with nature.

Visit our Calendar for the most up-to-date exhibition listings and additional programs, workshops, and events.


Past Exhibitions

Artful caterpillars photographed on a vine against a white background

The Book of Life: A Photographic Bibliography

February 8th through 22nd 

Each plant has a story to tell. Each plant is not just a bundle of striving molecules like us, but a set of ideas-made-flesh, a library in bloom. In the exhibit The Book of Life: A Photographic Bibliography, Artist-in-Residence Becky Jaffe pairs her photographs of the UC Botanical Garden with books on ecology, evolutionary biology, and ethnobotany in a visual ode to Nature’s spellbinding storytelling.

Plant Fiber Enclosure: Origins by Maria Paz Gutierez

May 2017

Plant Fiber Enclosure: Origins comprises a two-semester seminar where graduate architecture students have explored methods to integrate traditional and digital craft in fiber enclosures. Students first studied fabrication techniques with plant fibers originated in primitive habitats. The installation developed in the Spring semester consists of a fully natural fiber 3D printed and 3D woven six feet height structure inspired by the process of construction of a weaver bird’s nest.

Local Color: Seeing Place Through Water Color with Mimi Robinson

April 5 – April 12, 2017

Come celebrate the colors of Spring at the UC Botanical Garden. Please join us for a special installation of Mimi Robinson’s artwork documenting the unique colors of our special garden at this time of year.

DISPERSAL: Seed Pod Photography by Anna Laurent

January 17 – 30, 2017 | 10 am – 4 pm

Individually, each photograph is a fine art portrait of a unique botanic specimen; as a series, it is a scientific inquiry into the diversity of botanic design. Each includes companion text about the specimen’s form & function.

Anna Laurent is an artist with a unique insight into the natural world. In her series Dispersal, she explores the myriad forms through which plants reproduce. To the uninitiated, Laurent’s close up portraits of flora and seeds could easily be mistaken for works of abstract art or images of contemporary sculpture. From samples collected as far afield as Hawaii and Kurdistan, Laurent’s work serves as a stunning reminder of the diversity, beauty and fragility of the natural world.

Contained Measures of a Kolanut

May 14, 2016

Contained Measures of a Kolanut presents an array of tables with diagrams, maps, and images, among other things, that explore the rituals and cultural histories associated with the kolanut: a bitter nut from the kola tree indigenous to tropical African rainforests that is a natural source of caffeine. Over the course of four hours Nkanga sits at one of the tables surrounded by various pictures and materials and asks participants to sit with her, while she engages them in discussion and invites them to partake in her variation of a kolanut ceremony.

David Lance Goines

March 26 – April 7, 2016 | April 13 – 24, 2019

The UC Botanical Garden is pleased to host an exhibition of the artwork of David Lance Goines in the historic Julia Morgan Hall.  His work has been exhibited around the world from the Museum of Modern Art to the Smithsonian. He has long-standing ties to Bay Area treasure Chez Panisse, and we are thrilled to bring his work to the Garden.

Foods of the Americas

Explore our annual exhibit filled with colorful displays of foods first cultivated by ancient Mayan, Aztec, and Incan cultures. These include corn, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, squash, peppers, amaranth, quinoa and chocolate. Take an ethnobotanical tour of our Mexico, Central and South American collections, and special Crops of the World Garden and Tropical House.

The Alcatraz Floreligium

January 16 – 29, 2016 | 10 am – 4 pm

The Northern California Society of Botanical Artists (NCSBA) in collaboration with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Garden Conservancy has created a florilegium, a series of botanical paintings, to document the plants of The Gardens of Alcatraz. The UC Botanical Garden is thrilled to welcome the NCSBA to exhibit this special showing of the Alcatraz Florilegium, with over 70 drawings and paintings, in our beautiful Julia Morgan Hall.

Biotic Portal at Strawberry Creek

Spring 2015 – Fall 2016

In collaboration with Denise Newman & Hazel White and Chris Carmichael & Deepa Natarajan of the UC Botanical Garden, witha generous grant from the Creative Work Fund. For us, it was a chance to take poetry off the page and work with a community—to produce a substantial public poem (the index). It changed us, providing an experience, for almost two years, of poetry as a practice alive outside ourselves and wrestling with contemporary matter.

Plein Air Blitz: Painting Exhibition & Demonstration

November 11, 2015

Live painting demonstrations in the Garden by members of the Glover Group, a group of dedicated plein air artists and students of the late and renowned artist Pam Glover, and a special one-day exhibition of work. Associated sale proceeds benefit the UC Botanical Garden’s education programs.

Art Exhibition: Watercolors by Gary Bukovnik

August 25 – September 3, 2015 | 10 am – 4 pm

Bay Area watercolorist, Gary Bukovnik, has brought the artist’s eye to interpreting flowers for more than 30 years. At a time when modern American artists seem to have abandoned floral works, Bukovnik has made an illustrious career painting vibrant compositions of flowers.

Bukovnik’s work has appeared in many major art museums including the de Young, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian, and others, Bay Area residents may recognize Bukovnik’s work from the San Francisco Symphony’s annual poster, which he has contributed to for the past 29 years.

Following in the Bartram’s Footsteps

December 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015

This major art exhibition curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists,  includes forty-four original artworks based on the native plant discoveries made by John and William Bartram in their renowned and influential travels throughout the Eastern wilderness between the 1730s and 1790s. The UC Botanical Garden will be the only West Coast showing of this exhibition.

Natural Discourse

July 14, 2012 – January 20, 2013

Natural Discourse: Artists, Architects, Scientists & Poets in the Garden is a collaborative project between The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley (UCBG) and a multi-disciplinary group of artists, writers, architects and researchers who have been invited to spend time in UCBG’s extraordinary collection of plants, engage with the horticulturalists and develop new site specific work. The resulting works are as varied and multi-dimensional as the individuals who created the pieces.

Participating artists are Mary Anne Friel, Todd Gilens, Matt Suib, Nadia Hironaka, Hazel White, Denise Newman, Deborah O’Grady, Ron Real, Viginia San Fratello, Gail Wight, Nami Yamamoto, Mitch Maher, Shirley Watts, Shane Myrbeck and Jane Flint.

Artist in Residence: Marion Brenner

March 8 – March 15, 2013

The Garden presents a selection of renowned photographer and Berkeley resident Marion Brenner as our first Artist in Residence. Ms. Brenner has created a body of work featuring the beautiful plants and landscapes of the Garden and we are pleased to display this work in a one-woman show at the Garden.

Planting Comics

June 21 – July 30, 2010

A site-specific comics installation by comic artist Ozge Samanci  of twenty original comics printed on ceramic tiles.