Plant & Garden Highlights

Plant & Garden Highlights

Since its founding in 1872, the Arnold Arboretum has endeavored to acquire woody plants (trees, shrubs, and vines) from around the world that are potentially hardy out-of-doors in the Boston region. Today the Arnold Arboretum cultivates around 15,000 living plants which represent some 4,000 kinds of trees, shrubs, and vines. Plants are labeled for identification and are largely grouped by family for easy comparison, arranged to follow the botanical sequence proposed by English botanists George Bentham and Joseph Hooker in Genera Plantarum (1862-1883). The diversity of plants and the naturalistic design of the landscape offer exceptional beauty and horticultural interest at all times of the year. In addition to exploring plants by family, visitors are invited to enjoy a number of featured destinations, special horticultural displays, and areas of natural woods within the Arboretum’s 281-acre landscape.

Azalea Border
Rhododendron and other members of the heath family (Ericaceae) bloom in profusion along this storied border.

Bonsai Collection
New specimens and old favorites are on display from mid-April through mid-November in a pavilion overlooking the Leventritt Shrub & Vine Garden.

Bradley Rosaceous Collection
Rose family (Rosaceae) genera including Prunus (cherry), Rosa (rose), Spiraea (bridal-wreaths), and Chaenomeles (quince) are displayed in formal beds near ponds teaming with wildlife.

Willows in Bussey-Brook Meadow, early spring
Preserved with minimal human interference, this urban wild supports research into the complex nature of urban environments.

Conifer Collection
Coniferous plants from around the temperate world inspire educators, researchers, and artists.

Wildflowers blanket the slope of Weld Hill behind the Arboretum’s research facility throughout the growing season.

Malus Collection
Over the late summer months into fall, admire ripening fruit in shades of green, yellow, orange, and red.

Explorers Garden
Stroll this microclimate on Bussey Hill and discover plants emblematic of our rich tradition of exploration and research.

Hemlock Hill
Dominated by natural stands of Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock), the contours of the hill define a year-round pleasure ground.

Leventritt Collection
Featuring terraced planting beds and a diverse selection of sun-loving shrubs and vines this award winning garden swells with multi-season interest.

Lilac Collection
With 180 lilac taxa (kinds), the collection provides a season of bloom spanning six weeks each spring.

Maple Collection
With diverse and numerous holdings of wild-collected maples, the collection is the most significant in the world for conservation.

Rhododendron Dell
Rhododendron Dell is a contemplative landscape showcasing the Arboretum’s core collection of hybrid and evergreen rhododendrons.

Spontaneous Flora
The Arboretum’s spontaneous vegetation (e.g., herbaceous perennials, ferns, mosses) and fungi reflect both the agricultural and horticultural histories of the landscape.