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TREES & Plants

Korea Collection

Korea Collection
Korea's plant landscape features deciduous hardwood forests dominated by maples, oaks, and hornbeams that are adapted to hot humid summers and long cold winters. Explore the flourishing plants of the Korean Collection that now call Illinois, and The Morton Arboretum, their home.


The Korean Peninsula is in North-East Asia and is about the size of Pennsylvania. Described as the "Hermit Kingdom" and "Land of Morning Calm", the country boasts 5,000 years of rich history and culture. However, the country's diverse woody plants, totaling over 1,300 species, were not well known by western botanists until the early twentieth century.

The wealth of Korean plants began to appear in North American gardens when Ernest H. Wilson, a renowned plant collector, explored the country in 1917. Following Wilson, many American horticulturists have explored the country in pursuit of new and hardy plants for North American gardens. Over 160 different kinds of plants are assembled in this  collection (established in 1959) and represent the floristic diversity of the country.

The collection can be enjoyed throughout the seasons. In May, look for dainty white flowers of Oyama magnolia (Magnolia sieboldii), enjoy the brilliant fall color of the three-flowered maple (Acer triflorum ), and in winter look for attractive peeling bark of Dahurian birch (Betula davurica). In this collection you can see endemic species (those that occur only in Korea), including white-forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum), Korean fir (Abies koreana), Korean maackia (Maackia fauriei), and Korean stewartia (Stewartia koreana).