Use this guide to quickly find reputable sources and save time on your research! Contact your subject librarian or the reference librarians if you need more help. For an overview of how to research efficiently, see Steps of the Research Process.

Finding Materials in the Library

Search CityCat to find books, e-books, disks and more. There are many ways to search, such as Title, Author and Keyword.

Books in the library are organized by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system which groups items by subject, so you can often simply browse the shelves. Examples of Subject searches include: Flower arrangement, Gardening, Landscape design, Landscape gardening, Nurseries (horticulture), Ornamental horticulture and many more.  Here are some relevant subjects and their call numbers:



Nurseries & nursery industry SB118
Horticulture, horticultural crops SB317.5-319.864
Flowers & flower culture, ornamental plants SB403-450.87
Gardens & gardening SB450.9-467.8
Landscape gardening, design, architecture SB469-476.4


Reference Sources

Reference books are great for short overviews and background information. There are also reference resources in our database section.

The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by Bricknell, Christopher and Judith D. Zuk, editors-in-chief. New York : DK Pub., 1997.

Hortus Third: a Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada by Bailey, Liberty Hyde and Ethel Zoe Bailey; revised and expanded by the staff of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. New York: Macmillan, 1976. 
Note: Hortus Third has not been updated in many years, and plant names have changed over time. However, it is still heavily used by horticulturists and is still considered a standard reference work.
SB 45 .B22 1976 Rosenberg Reference

The Jepson Manual : Higher Plants of California by Hickman, James C., ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. QK 149 .J56 1993 Rosenberg Reference

Plants of the San Francisco Bay Region: Mendocino to Monterey by Beidleman, Linda H. and Eugene N. Kozloff. Berkeley: UC Press, 2003. PUT ON NEXT LINE: QK 149 .K72 2003 Rosenberg Reference

Sunset Western Garden Book by Brenzel, Kathleen Norris, ed., 7th ed. Menlo Park, Calif.: Sunset Pub. Corp., 2001.
SB 453.2.W4 S9 2001 Rosenberg Reference, Downtown Reference


Use databases for specialized and the most up-to-date information, especially academic (scholarly) sources that are not available for free on the Web. See the Articles & Databases page for a full list of databases available.

CQ Researcher
CQ provides lengthy research reports written by the editorial staff of the Congressional Quarterly, Inc. Current and controversial topics related to horticulture, such as pesticide use, genetically-engineered crops, and biotech foods are covered in this database.

Ethnic Newswatch
Comprised of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America, this unique body of materials covers a wide range of current topics and countless other social, political and educational subjects. Horticulture topics in this database include: horticulture and its related topics, gardens and gardening, and more. More than 200 publications covering 1990 to the present are represented, and searchable in both English and Spanish.

Ebscohost is a brand name for more than 25 multi-disciplinary databases with coverage from 1980 to the present.

Gale Powersearch
Infotrac is a brand name for several databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. Most useful for horticultural topics are Expanded Academic ASAP, InfoTrac Onefile, and Science Resource Center. Searching on horticulture in the Subject Guide Search, then selecting Related Subjects, is a helpful way of seeing the variety of topics covered in these databases. General Business File ASAP and Business and Company ASAP have information on the horticultural industry. These databases let you limit your results to documents with full-text, peer-reviewed publications and documents with images. You can also limit by date, publication title and publication subject


Use websites for government information, statistics and current events. It's very important to carefully evaluate websites for accuracy, currency, bias and credibility.

American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta
This is the association for North American public gardens and their professional staff. Its mission is to serve and strengthen public gardens by supporting their work, value, and achievements in horticultural display, education, research, and plant conservation.

California Native Plant Society
The Society seeks to increase the understanding and appreciation of California's native plants and to conserve them and their natural habitats through education, science, advocacy, horticulture and land stewardship.

PLANTS Database 
From the United States Department of Agriculture, this provides information about vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.

Jobs in Horticulture
A national green industry jobs website for both job seekers and employers, with daily postings.

Horticultural Web
This is an industry-supported site for horticulture and floriculture products and services, with excellent links.

Las Pilitas Nursery 

Las Pilitas is a nursery that grows many California native plants. This web site will inform, entertain, and educate you about aspects of native plants and native gardens that they've learned for the last 35 years. 

Suncrest Nurseries plant list
A wholesale nursery with great cultural information for plants appropriate for the mild west coast.

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