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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Collection Statistics

Curatorial Fellows Joyce Chery and Jordan Wood verify Amelanchier nantucketensis accessions. Kyle Port
Curatorial Fellows Joyce Chery and Jordan Wood verify Amelanchier nantucketensis accessions

Living Collections

As of July 2020, the living collections (includes nursery holdings) comprise 16,978 individual plants belonging to 11,038 accessions representing 3,850 taxa. Of these, 15,458 individual plants belonging to 10,303 accessions representing 3,674 taxa constitute the permanent collections (excludes nursery holdings).

Taken together, the collections are considered to be one of the largest and best documented woody plant collections in North America and the world. Many of these accessions or accession lineages are of historical and botanical importance, representing the original North American introductions of Eastern Asian plants collected by Arboretum staff and affiliates such as Charles Sprague Sargent, Ernest H. Wilson, John G. Jack, Joseph Rock, William Purdom.

Read more about the Arboretum’s history of plant exploration.


Table 1. Taxonomic profile of the Living Collections (Includes Nursery Holdings) of the Arnold Arboretum.a

RANKNUMBER
Families112
Genera396
Species2,189
  Subspecies104
  Varieties328
  Formae65
  Cultivars1,426
Interspecific Hybrids431
Intergeneric Hybrids14
aNumbers for infraspecific ranks correspond only to those accessions where rank is known.

Table 2. Provenance of Accessions in the Living Collections (Includes Nursery Holdings) of the Arnold Arboretum.

PROVENANCETOTAL NUMBERPERCENT OF TOTAL
Wild
  Direct3,26029
  Indirecta9078
Garden2,97427
Uncertainb3,89736
aFrom a cultivated plant of known (indirect) wild origin.
bIncludes 2,786 existing or spontaneous accessions whose provenance cannot be determined.

Dead Collections

Only a minority of the accessions ever attempted to be grown in the collections of the Arnold Arboretum are currently alive—some perished, while others representing propagules (e.g., seed, graft, cutting) may have never grown to maturity. The records associated with these legacy collections hold immense value in documenting the history of plant introduction, since the Arboretum facilitated the initial point of entry in North America for many species.

As of July 2020, the legacy collections comprised 76,638 accessions representing 18,394 taxa. Of these, 67,043 individual plants belonging to 44,717 accessions representing 13,267 taxa were inventoried within the living collections (includes nursery holdings) before perishing.


Table 3. Taxonomic profile of the Legacy (Dead) Collections of the Arnold Arboretum.a

RANKNUMBER
Families 220
Genera 1,266
Species 10,296
  Subspecies 298
  Varieties 1,524
  Formae 291
  Cultivars 7,083
Interspecific Hybrids 1,533
Intergeneric Hybrids 99
aNumbers for infraspecific ranks correspond only to those accessions where rank is known.

Table 4. Provenance of the Legacy (Dead) Accessions of the Arnold Arboretum.

PROVENANCETOTAL NUMBERPERCENT OF TOTAL
Wild
  Direct 14,829 19
  Indirecta 4,363 6
Garden 22,835 30
Uncertainb 34,611 45
aFrom a cultivated plant of known (indirect) wild origin.
bIncludes 1,504 existing or spontaneous accessions whose provenance cannot be determined.