Insects prefer yellow

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
June 11, 2018

Insects prefer yellow

DirectorsBlog_flowercolorchange_FEATURED

Every spring and summer, I keep an eye out for species whose flowers regularly change color, typically from yellow to red. This is especially evident among the buckeyes and horse-chestnuts (Aesculus) where just-opened flowers will have prominent splotches of yellow (to attract insect pollinators) that change to red (upper image; Aesculus turbinata, Japanese horsechestnut; 219-35*A) over the […]

Continue reading


Billions of buds are opening

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
May 8, 2018

Billions of buds are opening

DirectorsBlog5.5.2018 BudBurst_featuredIMG

Come. Now! There is an urgency to the explosion of billions of buds in the Arnold Arboretum right now. For the better part of a year, this growing season’s leaves and flowers have been encased in the dormant buds of every tree, shrub, and liana, waiting for the appropriate environmental signals to engorge with water, swell, […]

Continue reading


Spring larch pilgrimage

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
April 17, 2018

Two wheelbarrows

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
April 8, 2018

Felled by the wind

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
March 13, 2018

Felled by the wind

DirectorsBlog3.11.2018_felled_featuredIMG

More than 20 large trees in the Arnold Arboretum came down or were severely damaged in the brutal Nor’easter on March 1, including several centenarians with important provenance. Most of the trees toppled by the winds had significant rot or underlying structural issues; it was only a matter of time. Like us, trees age, grow […]

Continue reading


A Tangled Tree

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
March 3, 2018

A Tangled Tree

Yesterday, a genuine New England Nor’easter struck, with phenomenal winds and drenching rain, but fortunately for the trees, no snow. This storm brought to mind one of our old Japanese red pines (Pinus densiflora 16536*C), collected by Charles Sprague Sargent (first director of the Arnold Arboretum) in 1892 in Japan. It bears the scars of […]

Continue reading


A wander on Peters Hill

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
February 5, 2018

A wander on Peters Hill

Every winter, on brisk sunny days (the colder the better), I find myself drawn to Peters Hill. Last week was no exception. An occasional dog walker or jogger – but no one wandering “off-road” amidst the collections. This wonderful sense of solitude is only broken when I lift my gaze and the Boston skyline appears […]

Continue reading


Smooth and colorful bark

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
January 16, 2018

Some wonderful moments at the Arnold Arboretum in 2017

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
January 1, 2018

Some wonderful moments at the Arnold Arboretum in 2017

Highlights from 2017_DirectorsBlog

2017 has been a magnificent year at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. The trees, shrubs, and lianas dazzled, but of course, not in exactly the same way as in 2016, or for that matter, any other year since the dawn of time. To begin 2018, I share 12 moments from my wanderings in the […]

Continue reading


Mountain chestnut oaks outsmart squirrels!

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
December 2, 2017

Mountain chestnut oaks outsmart squirrels!

DirectorsBlog_mountain oaks

Two weeks ago, I wondered why the acorns of mountain chestnut oak (Quercus montana), like most other species in the white oak section of the genus, germinate soon after hitting the ground in the fall. This week, I excavated a seedling, and as you can see, the root system is already well developed, although the […]

Continue reading