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TREES & Plants

Eastern United States Wetlands Collection

Eastern United States Wetlands Collection
Wetlands are crucial habitat areas for biodiversity, and for protecting the fragile interface between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Walk the trails through the Eastern United States Wetlands Collection at The Morton Arboretum to see how these species have adapted to this unique environment.


Wetlands include floodplains which are low, flat areas that flood periodically, but are not continually under water. The plants assembled in this 3.19 acre collection are native to wetland habitats in the eastern U.S. The DuPage River on the East Side of the Arboretum that flows next to this geographic collection often floods its banks, creating an interesting floodplain habitat for more than 360 plants. With each flood, organic matter and minerals are deposited, creating a deep rich soil in which these plants thrive. Wetlands are an important part of the landscape. They protect the dry lands adjacent to them by absorbing flood waters and filtering pollutants and sediment from the water.

This collection started in 1925 and today includes a large number of notable specimens. The large eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) and the eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) located along the service road are impressive specimens. Also of interest are the fall ripening fruit of the southern arrowhead (Viburnum dentatum), the vibrant red autumn color of tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), the Florida corkwood (Leitneria floridana). Don't miss the opportunity to observe the mysterious 'knees' of the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum).