More than 500 species of plants are found on the UCSC campus! On just a short walk, you can travel through several ecologically diverse plant communities, including moist redwood ravines, mixed evergreen forests, knobcone pine forests, chaparral, grasslands, coastal prairie, and riparian/wetland areas. This astonishing botanical diversity is due in part to the diverse underlying geologic formations, topographic relief, and local climatic conditions found on campus.


Norris Center Resources 

The Norris Center is a member of the Consortium of California Herbaria (CCH). As part of the CCH, the Norris Center maintains an herbarium collection of over 8,000 fully cataloged vascular plant specimens, which can be searched online through the Jepson online interchange hosted at UC Berkeley. The collection focuses on Santa Cruz County plants, primarily collected by local naturalist Randall Morgan over the last 40 years. Morgan’s collecting especially concentrated on plants in rare habitats, such as coastal prairie, coastal dune, riparian, maritime chaparral, and sandhill chaparral. There are also extensive collections of the genera TrifoliumArctostaphylos, and Piperia. The museum has approximately 2,000 additional collected specimens waiting to be processed. With the help of volunteers and interns from UCSC, the Santa Cruz Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, and the community, the Norris Center processes and catalogs a few hundred plant specimens per quarter.

plants of ucsc coverRecent Norris Center undergraduate Nathalie Martin published an excellent field guide to the plants of UCSC. Check it out on Amazon here, or come to the Norris Center for a discounted price.

General Natural History Links


A website dedicated to the wild plant life of California; including both native plants and established invasives. Browse the database or submit your own observations.

California Native Plant Society

CNPS is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving California's native plant life. Get involved in citizen science, view the plant database, create your own native plant garden or join a chapter.

Botanical Society of America: Resources

Botany-related articles, blogs, videos, and information on botany careers. Also check out botany publications.

The Jepson Herbarium: eFlora

An online encyclopedia derived from the respected Jepson Manual. Identify a species via the keys using terms from the glossary, or view the profile for a known species.

Brilliant Botany

A botany enthusiast blog. Beautiful plant pictures; links to botany-related videos, books, and more.