Living Collections Projects

The diversity of trees from around the world in the Living Collections provides an ideal opportunity to compare species responses to climate.

Trees are removed from the Living Collections for various reasons, but just because a tree is no longer growing on the grounds, doesn’t mean we can’t still learn from it.

We are assessing whether important seed and living collections have sufficiently sampled the wild diversity of tree species we are trying to protect. 

We are quantifying the number of plants and seeds needed to best preserve genetic variation of 10 species of threatened trees in botanical gardens, which  will be models for future seed collections.

Living plant collections play an important role in conserving plant biodiversity.  We collect and cultivate threatened tree species to learn about and safeguard important sources of tree genetic diversity. 

Living plant collections play an important role in conserving plant biodiversity.  We collect and cultivate threatened tree species, like Quercus oglethorpensis (Oglethorpe oak), to learn about and safeguard important sources of tree genetic diversity. 

Bringing new, beautiful, and resilient tree and shrub varieties to market requires understanding how many sets of chromosomes species possess.  This project explores the poorly understood genome size and ploidy of the genus Styrax (snowbells), a respected but uncommonly cultivated group of trees and shrubs.

The Morton Arboretum’s plant collections are recognized as one of the most significant collections of cold-hardy trees and shrubs worldwide. They are open to the public for study and exploration, and are frequently utilized for formal research projects and educational courses. This plan  provides a strategic framework for collections development, with the goal of improving their diversity, maintenance, and visitor experience well into the Arboretum’s future.

Introduced diseases affect the health of our trees and shrubs, and breeders are always seeking to find new sources of resistance.

Genome size and ploidy surveys contribute to the growing body of scientific knowledge related to the plant kingdom and can be used by plant breeders to develop breeding objectives.

A breeding population with genetic diversity is necessary for developing new plants with novel characters.  Some plants can become weedy when introduced to a landscape, and reducing fertility can mitigate this effect.

Polyploid induction is a method used by breeders to develop parents that can be used to create plants that are sterile, reblooming, or have improved aesthetics through interploidy hybridization.