Collections Research

The Arboretum’s tree and plant collections are a significant resource for scientific research.


The Morton Arboretum’s living plants and dried herbarium specimens represent one of the most significant collections of cold-hardy trees and shrubs worldwide.

Collections at The Morton Arboretum house biological information on more than 4,300 plant taxa, representing nearly 290,000 live plants and dried herbarium specimens. These collections are a major resource for the community and researchers to understand global plant diversity, what different plant species need to be healthy, grow, and reproduce, and how to conserve plant species and restore plant communities.

Research Goals

Collecting, documenting, studying, and caring for these plants in order to:

Understand global plant diversity

Learn best plant care methods for different species

Conserve plant species

Breed new, beautiful, and resilient plant varieties

Showcase examples of global plant diversity to the public

Learn which species do well in the northern Illinois climate for possible cultivation

Opportunities in Science

The Morton Arboretum works to inspire and support future tree scientists in every stage of their careers through mentorships, fellowships, and other opportunities in science.

Learn more: Opportunities in Science

Support the Arboretum

Trees need people and people need trees. Support vital scientific research to help trees thrive long into the future.

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