Mission Statement and History


Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden promotes botany, conservation and horticulture to inspire, inform and educate the public and the scientific community about California’s native flora. The Garden is devoted to the collection, cultivation, study and display of native California plants and to graduate training and research in plant systematics and evolution. Through all its programs, the Garden makes significant contributions to the appreciation, enjoyment, understanding and thoughtful utilization of our natural heritage.

A Brief History

Susanna Bixby Bryant established Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) in 1927. In setting aside 200 acres of her family’s Orange County ranch for the garden, Bixby Bryant provided a location for the research, study and appreciation of native California flora.

RSABG became an affiliated institution of The Claremont Colleges in 1951 when the Garden moved to its present location in Claremont, 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The Garden, an independent organization, became the home of Claremont Graduate University’s Botany Program.

As a research organization and institution of higher education, RSABG is involved with research in systematic and evolutionary botany (science fields that sort out the relationships and evolutionary history of plants).

Encouraging the use of California native plants in home landscapes is a major aspect of the Garden’s objective and to further this goal, we offer horticulture and community education programs to the public. The Garden’s grounds include many areas designed to illustrate the ways in which native plants can be used to achieve home garden and landscape design projects.

More than half of RSABG’s 86 acres is devoted to California plant communities—plantings designed to depict native plant habitats. The emphasis to display plants in their native habitats was established by Bixby Bryant in the early years of the Garden.