The San Francisco Botanical Garden (formerly Strybing Arboretum) is a large botanical garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Its 55 acres (22.3 ha) include over 50,000 individual plants, representing over 8,000 taxa from around the World, with particular focus on Magnolia species, high elevation palms, and cloud Forest species from Central America, South America and Southeast Asia.
Plans for the garden were originally laid out in the 1880s by park supervisor John McLaren, but funding was insufficient to begin construction until Helene Strybing left a major bequest in 1927. Planting was begun in 1937 with WPA funds supplemented by local donations, and the arboretum officially opened in May 1940. As a part of Golden Gate Park, it is officially managed by the city of San Francisco, but the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society plays an important role in providing educational programs, managing volunteers, and curatorial staff. Formed in 1955, the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society (formerly the Strybing Arboretum Society) operates the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture, a bookstore, and monthly plant sales, and offers a wide range of community education programs for children and adults. The Society also raises money for new projects and Garden renovations. Using green building practices, a new Center for Sustainable Gardening is planned to replace the existing nursery. Other planned renovations include a Southeast Asian Cloud Forest and newly paved pathways.