Birch trees in the Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum is a Herbarium and Botanic Garden of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. It was originally created as an arboretum, therefore, will focus on woody trees and shrubs. The plant is named after the merchant James Arnold (1781-1868), whose legacy the founding in 1872, enabled.


Founder and first director of the Arnold Arboretum botanist Charles Sprague Sargent was, who took over the management of the plant on 24 November in 1873 and held that office for more than 54 years. In addition, he was until 1879 Director of the Harvard Botanical Garden and - likewise by 1879 - professor of horticulture at the Bussey Institute. Through a generous grant from Horatio Hollis Hunnewell in 1892 both the conifer collection as well as the construction of an administrative building could be financed, which was then used as a museum.

Sargent met the leaders at that time landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the summer of 1878, when he conducted his first studies for his contract to build the Emerald Necklace of the Boston Park Administration. They agreed quickly to a cooperation because of their scientific and artistic goals were similar. They agreed to use the classification system by George Bentham and Joseph Hooker. The arboretum should be both a recreational facility for the citizens as well as an encyclopedic Tree Museum of researchers and incorporated into the parkland of Boston.

Sargent had to convince them of the common projects, the Boston City Council and the Harvard College. His motives were not solely altruistic, because he needed extra money for the construction and maintenance of the arboretum. He collected his plan for signatures of the most influential citizens of the town. They needed another year for the development of all details, however, were on December 20, 1883 to sign a thousand-year lease between the City of Boston and the Harvard College. The city was responsible for the construction and for the maintenance of roads and fences of the Arboretum, while Harvard University was responsible for the planting, the design of the Arboretum and for the collections and programs.

The Saxon coming to the turn of the century emigrated to the United States botanist Alfred Rehder was from 1918 to 1940 curator of the Arnold Arboretum.


The Arnold Arboretum comprises around 13,000 plants representing some 4,000 botanical species. One focus woody species from North America and East Asia. The collection was previously enriched among other things, plant collections from East Asia by Charles Sprague Sargent, Ernest Henry Wilson, William Purdom, Joseph Hers, and Joseph Rock. More recently material from Asia came through the " Arnold Arboretum Expedition to Japan and Korea," from 1977, the "Sino - American Botanical Expedition" of 1980 in the Chinese province of Hubei and expeditions to China and Taiwan added.