Request Plant Material

Access to Research and Propagation Materials

Permits are required for all research and collecting activity, and are issued following review. When propagation material is limited, priority is given to those individuals and organizations that are members of the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum.

Research Material

The living collections of the Arnold Arboretum comprise a valuable genetic resource that represents a large subset of the combined ligneous floras of the North Temperate Zone. The Arboretum strongly encourages and supports the use and distribution of its living collections for research. We can provide access to the plants growing in the collection, supply voucher herbarium specimens, furnish fresh or preserved tissue, or collect propagules.

Researchers who wish to access the living collections to conduct on-site experiments or make observations, or to request voucher herbarium specimens or tissue (fresh or dried in silica gel), can email queries to the Curation Department; written requests should be addressed to:

Curator of Living Collections
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
125 Arborway Boston, MA 02130
United States

Please include your name and affiliation, nature of the request, and the taxa of interest. To all extents practicable, curatorial staff can also assist researchers in developing their study.

Fagus americana [Fagus grandifolia] sapling. From Sargent, 1947. Horticultural Library of the Arnold Arboretum.

Note that permits are required for all research and collecting activity, and are issued following review. Access to the collections is provided free of charge, including the cost of shipping material. However, the use of a recipient’s courier account (FedEx preferred) is appreciated. For any requests that require intensive curatorial support, particularly over an entire growing season(s), we ask that scholars consider offsetting some of the costs.

Propagation Material

Many of the taxa in the living collections are of conservation value due to their threatened status in the wild. As a consequence, the Arnold Arboretum views its collections as an alternative source of limited amounts of propagation material of these as well as more commonplace but little-known plants. However, the Arboretum does not normally supply propagation materials of plants that are known to be generally available from any commercial source in North America. We also retain the right to refuse distribution of propagation material that represents species and/or clones that are planned for introduction by the Arnold Arboretum, those which fall under memoranda of understanding with third parties, or for other curatorial reasons.

With respect to seed requests, it should be noted that seeds collected from Arboretum plants are the result of open pollination, and no guarantee can be made that they will grow true to name. This fact is particularly true for large genera that are represented by many species in our collections. Requests for propagation material should be directed to contact listed above. Please include the botanical name and the approximate amount of plant material desired. Material will be collected and processed by the staff as time and weather permits.

Foreign Requests

Requests for material originating in foreign countries must be accompanied by the proper import permits and/or mailing labels for importation purposes. Every effort will be made to supply the requested material, but the number of plants held within our collection and their condition will be the limiting factor. Requests held to a reasonable number, twelve or fewer, will be filled at a greater speed. Except for requests from sister botanical institutions and academic departments, a fee is charged for propagation materials to offset the costs involved in providing them. A fee will be also be added to cover inspection by agents of the United States Department of Agriculture for phytosanitary certificates for all international orders.

Fee Schedule (US Dollar)


Domestic variable
International variable


Plant Material

Seeds gratis
Cuttings and scions $.50 ea
Cuttings and scions of dwarf conifers $1.00 ea
Cuttings and scions of special rare plants $2.00 ea



Collecting, packaging, and shipping (minimum of 1 hour) $50.00/hr
Aerial lift (necessary for collecting scions and seeds from larger trees) $150.00/hr



U.S. Department of Agriculture Phytosanitary Certificates (international orders) $20.00


All shipments will include an invoice; payment by check in US dollars should be sent upon receipt of the plant material. Prepayment is discouraged since cuttings, scions, or seeds of requested plants may not be available. If the cost of the order is expected to be high, notification will be made before a request is processed.