In addition to the many thousands of specimens collected in the Cultivated Herbarium, The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library maintains a herbarium collection of its own! 288 dried specimens, encased in hard plastic, span a huge range of taxa collected from our grounds. Leaves and twigs, seeds and pods, cones and stems, these three-dimensional objects offer a unique method of examining plant life and anatomy.

This project was conceived in the early 1970s by Dr. Gordon P. DeWolf, Jr., then Horticultural Taxonomist at the Arboretum. He recruited the talents of longtime Arboretum docent Sheila Magullion to embed herbarium specimens into hard plastic for use as a teaching tool. Sheila experimented with various techniques, and through trial and error, produced hundreds of beautiful objects of various shapes and sizes. Certain precautions had to be taken during the procedure, as the chemicals in use were volatile and noxious. Sheila applied her artistic background to the process, and the results speak for themselves.

Today Sheila Magullion maintains her own garden of trees, shrubs and perennials in Massachusetts, and continues her artistic pursuits.

We invite you to come and view these unique objects in the Library Reading Room, and engage your taxonomic and historical interests.

Larissa Glasser, Library Assistant

Positioning specimen on a base layer of plastic. Photograph taken May 27, 1976.
Abelia grandiflora, Glossy Abelia. 4 inches square by 1 inch thick.
Acer palmatum, Japanese Maple. 4.25 inches square by 1 inch thick.
Akebia quinata, Chocolate Vine or Five-leaf Akebia. 4.5 inches square by 1 inch thick.
Calycanthus floridus, Carolina sweetshrub. 4.5 inches square by 1.5 inch thick.
Catalpa bignonioides, Southern Catalpa.
Cedrus libani, Cedar of Lebanon. 2 months cold. 7 inches tall by 4.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches thick.
Cephalanthus occidentalis, Buttonbush. 4.5 inches square by 1.5 inch thick.
Exochorda giraldi wilsoni, Wilson Pearlbrush.
Hamamelis Arnold primrose. Witch-hazel. 4.5 inches square by 1.5 inch thick.
Hamamelis intermedia, hybrid witch hazel. 4.5 inches diameter by 1 inch thick.
Malus arnoldiana. 4.5 inches square by 1 inch thick.
Orixa japonica
Pinus echinata, Shortleaf Pine. 4.5 inches square by 1.5 inch thick.
Pinus strobus, Eastern white pine. 2 months cold. 7 inches tall by 4.5 inches wide by 2 inches thick.
Pseudolarix amabilis, Goldenlarch. 2 months cold. 6 inches tall by 4 inches wide by 2 inches thick.
Pyrus amabilis
Rosa rugosa. 4 inches square by 2.25 inches thick.
Sophora japonica, Japanese pagoda tree.
Ulmus americana, American elm. 3.75 inches square by .75 inch thick.

From “free” to “friend”…

Established in 1911 as the Bulletin of Popular Information, Arnoldia has long been a definitive forum for conversations about temperate woody plants and their landscapes. In 2022, we rolled out a new vision for the magazine as a vigorous forum for tales of plant exploration, behind-the-scenes glimpses of botanical research, and deep dives into the history of gardens, landscapes, and science. The new Arnoldia includes poetry, visual art, and literary essays, following the human imagination wherever it entangles with trees.

It takes resources to gather and nurture these new voices, and we depend on the support of our member-subscribers to make it possible. But membership means more: by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum, you help to keep our collection vibrant and our research and educational mission active. Through the pages of Arnoldia, you can take part in the life of this free-to-all landscape whether you live next door or an ocean away.

For more tree-entangled art, science, and writing, subscribe to Arnoldia by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum.