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Geographic collections

The bark of the Katsura tree is light gray and flaky to slightly shaggy in appearance

The geographic collections at The Morton Arboretum feature plants from the temperate regions (regions which lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) in North America, Europe, and Asia. These regions support great plant diversity. Many plants from these regions are well adapted to the Arboretum's growing conditions where soils are often alkaline, summers are hot and humid, and winters are very cold (the USDA Hardiness Zone map classifies our region as zone 5).

The geographic collections were established in 1924 after Joy Morton had studied several botanical gardens in Europe, including the Arboretum Geographique in Belgium, and the Arnold Arboretum in the U.S. He was particularly inspired by the assemblage of plants by origin that facilitated a convenient way of studying the plants.More than 1,100 different species live within the geographic collections, and of the nearly 6,000 plants present, almost 75 percent are of wild origin. These plants are often collected by Arboretum staff, who continue the great tradition of plant exploration by traveling to foreign countries to hunt for plants of scientific, economic, and aesthetic value. The geographic collections at The Morton Arboretum contain plants from the following areas:

Asian collections

Asia has some of the most floristically diverse regions in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. For this reason, and because of similarities to our climate, Asian plants are very well represented at The Morton Arboretum   Learn More

European collections

The European collections feature a group of plants native to Central and Northern Europe. These two collections represent one of the oldest collections on the Arboretum grounds, started in 1925 by Henry Teuscher, the Arboretum's first botanist.  Learn more

North American collections

The North American collections at The Morton Arboretum highlight some of the most floristically diverse regions of the United States. Come to these collections to see important plants from Appalachia, the Eastern United States wetlands, the Midwest, the Ozarks, and the Southwest. Learn more