The slopes of Colombia, China's Yunnan Province, the plateau forests of Madagascar, the fields of California—Academy botanists travel the world to discover new species, collect plants for our herbarium, and contribute to our extensive botany database, which currently contains records for approximately 140,000 specimens.
With a history of pioneering action that began in 1893 with botany curator Alice Eastwood, today's department is a robust collection of leading researchers, scientists, fellows, and students. Our resources include a 2 million-specimen collection containing more than 11,000 types, as well as the John T. Howell Botanical Laboratory.
The California Academy of Sciences' herbarium is the largest collection of vascular plants in the western U.S. and the sixth-largest collection in the country. The CAS collection includes ~2.3 million plant specimens with almost 12,000 types. Over 95% of the specimens are vascular seed plants; the remainder are ferns and a growing collection of bryophytes at ~150,000 specimens.
Learn more about our department's areas of focus—active, ongoing research that seeks to answer some of the biggest questions in the field.
See where our research takes us, what partners we're working with, what impacts we've had on local communities, and what discoveries we've made thus far.
Our researchers discover new species, explore evolutionary relationships, and address important questions about biogeography and biodiversity.