Searchable Plant Inventory
Welcome to the Arboretum’s unified plant collections search. For the first time, data of the collections can be queried and exported via a single web portal.
Want to know more about what’s in the Arboretum’s collections? Obtain statistics here.
You may also request plant material or download select datasets and narratives. For the most complete inventory information or for specific questions about the collections, please email the Curation Department.
Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what you like about the search and report any problems by emailing our development team. Please include your mobile device type and the version of your operating system, and for problems please describe in detail the issue you encountered.
Development of the plant inventory search is a collaboration between the Curation and Information Technology teams. Data offered by the search are curated in our database of record, BG-BASE, while the search interface is built using Bootstrap 3.3.5, jQuery 1.10.1, and Google Maps 3.0.
Prior to conducting a search, please consider the following:
- For best results, please query using the botanical or Latin name. Common names can be used, but at present, only the Arboretum’s preferred common name can be searched.
- Most of the dead or deaccessioned collections’ records are taken from hand-written entries on archival index cards and accession books, and may reflect less vigorous standards of documentation than practiced today.
- Nomenclature for old records may not conform to currently accepted taxonomies. Thus, not all names that appear in the search have been reviewed for accuracy. However, almost all names that correspond to living accessions have been vetted by curatorial staff.
Most search returns provide a Garden Location, even for deaccessioned or dead plants. Most of these refer to a grid and directional quadrant. For instance, a white ash (Fraxinus americana) specimen is located in grid number 20, quadrant NE. This location, 20-NE, can be matched to a 200-foot-by-300-foot area on the grounds using our grid map or by turning on the ‘map book grid’ layer in Arboretum Explorer.
Plants grown in named garden areas have a “Garden Location” preceded by these abbreviations:
- BR = Bradley Rosaceous Collection
- DGB = Dana Greenhouse beds (no public access)
- EG = Explorers Garden
- LARZ = Bonsai & Penjing Collection
- LG = Leventritt Shrub & Vine Garden
- VISITOR-CNT = Hunnewell Visitor Center
- WH = Weld Hill
- WH-INTERIOR = Weld Hill Research Building interior (no public access)
Print publically accessible garden location keys here.
Living plants without a “Garden Location” are not in the permanent collections and may be unavailable for research or educational use. Please contact the Curation Department for more information.
Search returns also contain the plant’s most recent condition status (though the entire history of plant conditions is maintained within the Arboretum’s database). During formal and ad hoc field checks, plants are given a standardized plant condition code that reflects a health assessment, or if an assessment cannot be provided, a code of A, I, or Q (see below). The following standardized condition definitions are used as a guide during plant health assessments.
- Alive (A) – Plant present.
- Excellent (E) – An outstanding and/or exemplary plant, not just in good health but thriving (vigorous).
- Good (G) – A plant in good health, actively growing, no evidence of decline.
- Fair (F) – A plant in minor decline (minimal vigor), but not life-threatening.
- Poor (P) – A plant in major decline, the problem is life-threatening, and the expectation is that the plant will be dead within 1 to 2 years unless remedial action is taken.
- Indistinguishable (I) – A plant massed with other individuals (qualifiers) or accessions.
- Questionable (Q) – A plant who’s condition cannot be immediately determined.
- Dead (D) – A dead plant still in place.
- Deaccessioned and/or removed (R) – A plant removed from the collection because of death, curatorial review, or other permanent action.
- Unable to locate (U) – An unfound plant.
The living collections of the Arnold Arboretum are curated to ensure that plants are correctly identified, that contemporary taxonomic or classification schemes are being considered, and lastly, that accurate nomenclature is being applied. A number of activities assist curatorial staff in accomplishing these goals: voucher herbarium specimens are prepared and deposited in the Herbarium of Cultivated Plants, the identity and correct name of accessions are researched, and the scientific literature is regularly reviewed. Also, because the collections are a resource for scientists around the world, much ‘taxonomic progress’ (i.e., changes in identification, taxonomy and/or names) occurs as a result of their research.
Name status abbreviations follow alternative names and are defined as follows:
- A – accepted name; the name which this institution wishes to use for this taxon; a validly published name following the appropriate code of nomenclature
- D – doubtful/uncertain name; a validly published name whose descriptions are so vague as to leave doubt over what the name actually refers to
- HT – higher taxon record (e.g., Taxus sp.)
- I – invalid name
- N – not found in literature
- O – orthographic variant / spelling variant
- PP – pro-parte synonym
- S – synonym of another name
- SN – nomenclatural synonym / homotypic synonym – two or more names based on the same specimen
- ST – taxonomic synonym / heterotypic synonym – two or more names, based on different type specimens, that are considered to be the same taxon
- T – tentatively accepted name
- U – unchecked name (uncertain which of the above categories should
- be assigned to this name)
Search the collections by entering one or more words of a scientific or common plant name, accession number with or without qualifier, country or source in the Quick Search box. Use % for wildcard searching (e.g., Sapin%, Picea%heterolepis, %Wilson%).
There are plant(s) in My Visit.
Found plant records.
Search Seed ImagesThe Arnold Arboretum's Seed Herbarium collections can be searched by entering the scientific name, family name, or Arboretum accession number. Read more about our Seed Herbarium.
The Arboretum periodically provides its collection data to institutions offering the following searches:
- Multisite Search, hosted by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – Obtain collections information from BG-BASE institutions.
- Plant Search, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) – Locate rare and threatened plant species in cultivation around the world.
- Database of Asian Plants in Cultivation, Quarryhill Botanical Garden – Find Asian plant information from global botanical gardens and arboreta.