Obtain plant collection summaries.
As part of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, all historic accession cards, from Abeliophyllum to Zizyphus, have been reviewed and incorporated into BG-BASE, resulting in almost 70,000 new and over 100,000 edited records. In addition, 1,700 map documents (ca. 1937–1988) representing 1,982 locations have been digitized and georeferenced. Search our legacy collections.
This year, curatorial staff will field check collections on Hemlock Hill and Weld Hill. Learn more about the Arboretum’s inventory methods and goals by referencing our Plant Inventory Operations Manual (pdf).
The Arnold Arboretum’s living collections database, BG-BASE, is online and can be searched by entering one or more words of a scientific or common plant name (omit authorities, cultivar indicators, or intraspecific epithet(s)):
- Entries can be either upper or lower case.
- Use * or ] as a wildcard character.
- For example, to search for all values starting with Magnolia, enter Magnolia* or Magnolia]
- Multiple search criteria should be separated by a comma.
- For example, to look up both Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) Buchholz and Rhododendron prunifolium (Small) Millais enter Sequoiadendron giganteum, Rhododendron prunifolium.
Pinpoint plant collections and explore landscape features with our new interactive map application Collections Researcher. Alternatively, Arboretum Explorer has been optimized for use on mobile devices to map, indentify, and access collection information on Arboretum plants.
Living accessions can be located on the grounds by referencing a grid and directional quadrants within them. 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 this grid map.
Locations for plants that fall within named garden locations are abbreviated as follows:
- BR = Bradley Rosaceous Collection
- DGB = Dana Greenhouse beds (no public access)
- EG = Explorers Garden
- LARZ = Larz Anderson Bonsai 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 location keys:
- Master Grid Map (pdf)
- Bradley Rosaceous Collection (pdf)
- Explorers Garden (pdf)
- Leventritt Shrub & Vine Garden and Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection (pdf)
The Arboretum periodically provides its collection data to institutions offering the following searches:
- Multisite Search, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – Obtain living collections and conservation holdings from 27 institutions running BG-BASE (collections management software).
- 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.
Digital Data Resources
Download select datasets and narratives here.
An updated, paperbound edition of the living collections inventory was published in February, 2012. It lists alphabetically, by both genus and species, the 3,954 different kinds of plants (excluding nursery holdings) that were growing in the permanent collections of the Arnold Arboretum at that time.
Printed copies are available for $15.00 (includes postage), or digital copies are available for free here (pdf). Please do not order by electronic mail; send your order with payment in U.S. funds to:
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
c/o Manager of Plant Records, Invt. Order
Boston, MA 02130-3500
Please be advised many of the bed designations in the Explorers Garden (location key above) have changed since the publication of the Inventory of Living Collections 2012. All online resources have been updated to reflect the current location designations assigned to plants in this collection.