Living Collections Research

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The living collections at The Morton Arboretum is a group of over 100,000 living plants belonging to more than 4,000 taxa from 40 countries, grown on the site for specific purposes.

The collection is recognized as one of the most significant collections of cold-hardy trees and shrubs worldwide. Arboretum staff collect, document, study, and care for these plants in order to:

  • understand global plant diversity.
  • learn best plant care methods for different species.
  • conserve plant species.
  • learn which species do well in the northern Illinois climate for possible cultivation.
  • breed new, beautiful, and resilient plant varieties.
  • showcase examples of global plant diversity to the public.

Arboretum scientists undertake research projects that advance aspects of these important goals.