Legacy Collections

Legacy Statistics

Historic Collections View

Obtain historic collection summaries.

Grant Expands Access

Accession Card

As part of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, all historic accession cards, from Abeliophyllum to Zizyphus, have been reviewed and incorporated into BG-BASE, resulting in almost 70,000 new and over 100,000 edited records. In addition, 1,700 map documents (ca. 1937–1988) representing 1,982 locations have been digitized and georeferenced.

Archival Collections

Library Reading Room

The Horticultural Library is a specialized research collection that supports the curation, documentation, and study of the Arboretum’s plants and serves the Harvard community, Arboretum members, and the public.

Legacy Collections Searchable Plant Inventory

Only a minority of the accessions ever attempted to be grown in the collections of the Arnold Arboretum are currently alive—some perished over the past 140 years, while others representing propagules (seeds, cuttings, etc.) may have never grown to maturity. However, the records associated with these legacy collections still hold immense value in documenting the history of plant introduction, since the Arboretum facilitated the initial point of entry in North America for many plant species. Thus, colleague institutions can use these legacy collections records to augment their own plant records.

Prior to conducting a search, please consider the following:

  • Most legacy collections records derive from hand-written entries on index cards and accession books, and may reflect less vigorous standards of documentation than practiced today.
  • Nomenclature may not conform to currently accepted taxonomies, and not all names that appear in the search have been reviewed for accuracy.

Search the Arnold Arboretum’s legacy (e.g., dead, removed) collections by entering one or more words of a scientific or common plant name (omit authorities, cultivar indicators, or intraspecific epithets):

  • Entries can be either upper or lower case.
  • Use * or ] as a wildcard character.
  • For example, to search for all values starting with Magnolia, enter Magnolia* or Magnolia]
  • Multiple search criteria should be separated by a comma.
  • For example, to look up both Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) Buchholz and Rhododendron prunifolium (Small) Millais enter Sequoiadendron giganteum, Rhododendron prunifolium.