Capturing California’s flowers — using digital images to investigate phenological change in a biodiversity hot spot

Project Dates

2018 - 2022


Flowering time is an important biological phenomenon, affecting human societies through its effects on agricultural crops, pollinators, pests, and biodiversity. Flowering time is sensitive to climatic conditions and can help us to understand the consequences of climatic change. This project is collectively producing nearly one million digital images of the plant specimens housed in herbaria throughout California, allowing researchers to assess trends in flowering time over the nearly 200 years that these specimen records cover. At Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, we are imaging 70,000 specimens and databasing another 10,000.


To understand the effects of climate change on flowering time and digitize herbarium collections for ready access by scientists worldwide

Team Members

Matt Guilliams, Ph.D.

Lucie Gimmel

Eli Balderas

Susana Delgadillo

Alejandro Cisneros Lopez

Isabel Rivera


Twenty-two herbaria across California, led by Jennifer Yost, Ph.D. (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo) and Susan Mazer, Ph.D. (University of California, Santa Barbara)


National Science Foundation

Green Thumbs Can Save Us All

Learn all about native plants and explore the Garden. Sign up for our newsletter.