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TREES & Plants

Appalachia Collection

The cool slopes of the Appalachia Collection at The Morton Arboretum are home to plants from the diverse regions of the Appalachian mountain range. Many of the plants you can see here are rarely found outside their native habitat.

The Appalachian Mountains are a series of ancient mountains extending in a north/south direction over 1,500 miles of eastern North America (from Canada to Georgia). These mountains are incredibly rich in natural beauty and plant variety. Numerous ridges and valleys provide habitats for many plants, including several endemic species (plants that occur only on these mountains).

The collection is in an oak-dominated north-facing slope protected from direct sun, dry winds, and extreme temperature fluctuations. As such, it is well suited to grow plants from the relatively moist, mild climate of the Appalachians. Plants are represented from the north, central and southern sections of the mountain range. The majority of plants are from the central and southern Appalachian Mountains where species diversity is richest.

Originally started in the early 1950s, this collection has seen major expansion since the 1980s, with frequent collecting trips to the southeastern United States. In spring, as you travel through this collection, stop to admire the amazing wildflowers, as well as the many interesting and unique herbaceous plants like the American umbrella-leaf (Diphylleia cymosa). Groves of Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and the Arboretum's largest grove of pawpaw (Asimina triloba) are also here, along with many other beautiful Appalachian trees and shrubs.