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Riverside Botanic Gardens

Riverside Botanic Gardens, University of California

Also referred to as UCR Botanic Gardens, the Riverside Botanic Gardens contains over 3,500 different species of plants, coming from all over the world. The gardens span over 40 acres in the eastern section of Box Springs Mountain on the campus of University of California in Riverside, CA. Tourists can take in the beautiful landscapes while walking more than 4 miles of trails that go throughout the hilly, microclimate terrain.

There are two sections that make up the botanic gardens, the 40 acres of botanical gardens and UCR campus. Campus buildings present landscapes that have various types of plants which have adapted to the arid Southern California inland areas. Originally established with the purpose of teaching, providing courses with plant materials, including ecology, art, biology, anthropology, morphology, entomonly, plant pathology, taxonomy, ornamental horticulture, and photography. Today, the UCR Botanic Gardens offer the possibility of researching plant species from all over the world.

In 1980, the organization Friends of UCR Botanic Gardens had been established as support for the gardens, while more visibility and support come from a bi-annual Plant Sale.

Organized Collections by Species

With so many types of plants, they are organized according to species:

  • Rose Gardens: This section has more than 300 types of varieties, from Hybrid teas to miniatures, grandifloras, floribundas, and more.
  • Alder Canyon: This species includes native California riparian trees, such as camellias, azaleas, ferns, and hydrangeas.
  • Cactus Garden: Home to hundreds of varieties, including agaves, ocotillos, yuccas, cacti and many more.
  • Herb Garden: Includes culinary, dye, aromatic, and even medicinal herbs.
  • Lilac Lane: The place to find true lilacs.
  • Iris Garden: With over 150 different iris varieties.
  • Subtropical Fruit Orchard: Housing many types of fruit trees, including macadamia nuts, sapotes, avocados, guavas, and citrus.

Collections by Geographical Origin

To further organize the massive amount of plants, they are organized based on origin as well.

  • Southwest Desert Section
  • South African Garden
  • Boysie Day Baja California Garden
  • Sierra Foothills
  • Temperate Deciduous Forest
  • Australian Section
  • The Pond


In addition to more than 3,500 plant species, there are many animal’s species that call the Botanic Gardens home. This includes 195 species of bird, form mallards and kites to quail and swallows. You can also find Audubon cottontails, California squirrels, gray foxes, kangaroo rats, bobcats, skunks, etc. Retiles include lizards, turtles, and snakes.

Meanwhile there are amphibian’s as well, including western toads, bullfrogs, Pacific Tree Frogs, salamanders. Fish include carp and large, beautiful koi.