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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Arbor Day Seedling

At left, Kobus magnolia (Magnolia kobus); at right, the dove tree (Davidia involucrata). Ned Friedman

“It is a real treat when I’m doing yard work—or any time I walk to or from the front door—I can see a plant that came from the Arnold Arboretum. A very meaningful connection!”

Sarah Freeman, Arboretum member

Each spring, we promote the cultivation of exceptional woody plants in our region through the Arbor Day Seedling Program. This exciting benefit of membership is offered to current members at the Arbor Day ($150) level and above.

In 2023, we offer members two trees with deep roots in the history of Arnold Arboretum plant collecting in Asia. For our members at the Arbor Day ($150), Notable ($250), and Patron ($600) levels, we offer Kobus magnolia (Magnolia kobus), a small tree native to Japan and Korea with silvery-gray bark and pure white, sweetly-scented flowers in early spring. For our Benefactor ($1,500) level members and Sargent-Olmsted Society members (beginning with Ginkgo Circle members at $2,500), we offer the dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a native of China in the tupelo family prized for its spectacular flowers—a spherical flower head subtended by a pair of white bracts that flutter in the wind and look like doves or handkerchiefs. Download plant descriptions and planting instructions for Magnolia kobus and Davidia involucrata.

Please note the deadline to request a seedling by mail has passed, as these requests were fulfilled on Tuesday, April 4. There is still an opportunity to register to pick up a seedling in person at one of two distributions scheduled at our Weld Hill Research Building (1300 Centre Street, Boston, MA 02131) and listed below: 

  • Thursday, April 20 @ 4:00-7:00pm
  • Friday, April 28 @ 8:30-10:30am

Registering to pick-up a seedling helps our planning, but eligible members are welcome as walk-ins at the distribution dates above. Seedlings will be available while supplies last on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Arbor Day Seedling program helps us connect with our community through remarkable plants, and is offered with thanks to members for their generosity to the Arboretum. We hope you will enjoy celebrating Arbor Day or Earth Day by planting a seedling associated with our collections in your garden.

Not yet a member?

To participate in the Arbor Day Seedling program this spring, become a member of the Arnold Arboretum at the Arbor Day level ($150) to request a seedling of Kobus magnolia, or join our Sargent-Olmsted Society to request a seedling of the dove tree. To upgrade your existing membership to qualify, please email the Membership Department or call 617.384.5766.