About the Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Mimetes cucullatus, South African Garden

caesia flowers

Our Mission - connecting people with plants

With a 135 acre living museum full of rare and unique plant species, dedicated staff, committed volunteers, and a voluminous history of contributing to conservation research, the Arboretum inspires botanical stewardship in students, the community, and the world at large.

About Us

The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden’s rich and diverse collection contains representatives of more than 300 plant families of Mediterranean climates. The garden maintains collections of rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific interest. Particular specialties are world conifers, primitive angiosperms, and bulb-forming plant families. Large assemblages of plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and California natives are displayed on the grounds. Many of the species in these collections are not otherwise available for study in American botanical gardens and arboreta.

The Arboretum is a largely self-supporting unit of UC Santa Cruz. We receive funding from the university for the Executive Director’s salary and benefits, and payments of utilities like electricity, water, and gas.  We also receive in kind services like maintenance to state buildings and facilities, and support from other campus units such as Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), Financial Affairs, and Physical Planning, Development, and Operations (PPDO), among others.

However, the Arboretum is responsible for raising funds for the remaining staff, maintenance of gardens and equipment, non-state infrastructure, such as irrigation lines, and programs such as the student worker program, Native Plant Program and the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program.

Funding for the Arboretum comes from multiple sources that includes; sales at Norrie’s Gift Shop, admission fees, rental fees, memberships, and grants and contracts; with our largest income sources being interest earned on endowments and donations from generous people like you!


Watch a video narrated by Frans Lanting, noted wildlife photographer, explaining the unique value of the Arboretum & Botanic Garden. 
watch now

group touring the South African Garden

Become a member to support the Arboretum’s valuable contributions and to join the community of avid plant enthusiasts.

Volunteers play a crucial role here at the Arboretum. Make new friends, learn new skills, support our events, nursery, gift shop, and gardens. 

Norrie's Gift & Garden Shop is staffed by our dedicated volunteers with all proceeds supporting the maintenence of the Garden. Click on the link for current OPEN HOURS.

The Garden's activities in importing, selecting, and breeding choice ornamental plants is of great service to the public and the nursery industry. The Garden is the original importer of more than 1,500 different selections of choice ornamentals. For example, see the Garden's Koala Blooms Program.