Geographic Groups: Plants from Around the World
The Geographic Collections feature plants from the temperate regions (regions which lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) in North America, Europe, and Asia. These regions support great plant diversity. Many plants from these regions are well adapted to the Arboretum's growing conditions where soils are often alkaline, summers are hot and humid, and winters are very cold (the USDA Hardiness Zone map classifies our region as zone 5).
The Geographic collections were established in 1924 after Joy Morton had studied several botanical gardens in Europe, including the Arboretum Geographique in Belgium, and the Arnold Arboretum in the U.S. He was particularly inspired by the assemblage of plants by origin that facilitated a convenient way of studying the plants.
There are over a 1,100 different species in the Geographic Collections, and of the nearly 6,000 plants present, almost 75% are of wild origin. These plants are often collected by Arboretum staff, who continue the great tradition of plant exploration by traveling to foreign countries to hunt for plants of scientific, economic, and aesthetic value.