San Francisco Botanical Garden is a living museum of plants located within Golden Gate Park. The mild mediterranean climate provides the right conditions to grow and conserve plants from all over the world, including some no longer found in their native habitats. Fifty-five acres of sanctuary – featuring both landscaped gardens and open spaces – showcase over 8,000 types of plants from around the globe. Largely due to the microclimate found in San Francisco, and particularly in Golden Gate Park, the Botanical Garden is home to unique, diverse and significant botanical collections. Here are some highlights:
The Magnolia Collection
The Garden is proud to be recognized as having the world's fourth most significant collection of Magnolia species for conservation purposes, and the most important outside China*, where a majority of Magnolia species are found. The best time to visit the Garden to experience this collection is during their annual bloom from mid-December through the end of March.
Cloud Forest Collections
A conservator of cloud forest plants from both Mesoamerica and the Andes in South America, the Garden has also been developing the first Southeast Asian cloud forest collection of its kind. Many of these flowering shrubs, trees and impressive plants are rare and endangered, and SFBG is one of the only botanical gardens in the world where these plants can grow outdoors successfully, conserving many plant species. The best times to visit the Mesoamerican collection is November-December; the Andean is September-October; the Southeast Asian is year-round, but note that it is still in development.
Redwood Grove and California Natives
A protector of California's native flora, the Garden features a serene, century-old towering Redwood Grove right in the heart of San Francisco, with understory trees, shrubs and groundcovers, as well as a four-acre, award-winning designed open California landscape, featuring an array of plants thriving in the Mediterranean climate. This popular aspect of the Garden may be enjoyed year-round.
Mediterranean Climate Habitats
As an important representative of mediterranean habitats worldwide, the Garden displays many rare and unusual plants that flourish in the Bay Area climate, including collections from Australia, California, Chile, the Mediterranean, and South Africa. The Australian collection is best enjoyed December, January and then again from March-May. The California collection is best visited in December, in February and then again between April and June, when it truly flourishes. The Chilean and Mediterranean collections are both wonderful year-round. And the South African collection is best seen March-May, but may be enjoyed year round, as well.
High Elevation Palms
The Garden is host to the most comprehensive collection of high elevation palm species in any botanical garden, including some that grow up to an elevation of 11,000 feet in their native habitats. Visitors may enjoy the palms year round, and expect to see many of them flower in the next 5-10 years (i.e. 2017-2023.)
For more information on the Collections of San Francisco Botanical Garden, please contact one of the members of the Plant Collection team.