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An arboretum is a collection of trees. Related collections include a fruticetum (from the Latin frutex, meaning shrub), and a viticetum, a collection of vines. More commonly today, an arboretum is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants intended at least partly for scientific study. An arboretum specialising in growing conifers is known as a pinetum.


Egyptian Pharaohs planted exotic trees and cared for them; they brought ebony wood from the Sudan, pine and cedar from Syria. Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt returned bearing thirty-one live frankincense trees, the roots of which were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage; this was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahri mortuary temple complex.

The term 'arboretum' was first used in an English publication by John Claudius Loudon in 1833 in The Gardener's Magazine but the concept was already long-established by then.

The first arboretum was the Arboretum Trstenomarker, near Dubrovnikmarker in Croatiamarker. The date of its founding is unknown, but it was already in existence by 1492, when a 15 m (50 ft) span aqueduct to irrigate the arboretum was constructed; this aqueduct is still in use. It was created by the prominent local Gučetić/Gozze family. It suffered two major disasters in the 1990s but its two unique and ancient Oriental Plane remained standing.
Commenting on Loddiges' famous Hackney Botanic Garden arboretum, begun in 1816, and opened free to the public for educational benefit every Sunday, Loudon wrote: "The arboretum looks better this season than it has ever done since it was planted... The more lofty trees suffered from the late high winds, but not materially. We walked round the two outer spirals of this coil of trees and shrubs; viz. from Acer to Quercus. There is no garden scene about London so interesting". A plan of Loddiges' arboretum was included in The Encyclopaedia of Gardening, 1834 edition. Leaves from Loddiges' arboretum and in some instances entire trees, were studiously drawn to illustrate Loudon's encyclopaedic book Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum published in 1838, which also incorporated drawings from other early botanic gardens and parklands throughout the United Kingdom.


The Westonbirt Arboretummarker, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, Englandmarker, was founded around 1828 as the private tree collection of Captain Robert Holford at the Holford estate. Holford planted in open fields and laid out rides before he rebuilt the house. Planting at Westonbirt was continued by his son, George Holford. Eventually the estate passed to the government in lieu of death duties and was opened to the public. Also the word "arbortorium" was changed to arboretum back in the early 50's.The arboretum comprises some 18,000 trees and shrubs, over an area of approximately 600 acres (2.4 km²). It has 17 miles (27 km) of marked paths which also provide access to a wide variety of rare plants.

Later examples

Abney Park Arboretum
Shortly before the Derby Arboretummarker opened in 1840, a more complete arboretum was opened for free public access at Abney Park Cemeterymarker in Stoke Newingtonmarker near London, modelled partly on Mount Auburn Cemeterymarker near Boston and designed by Loddiges nursery. It was laid out with 2,500 trees and shrubs, all labelled and arranged in an unusual alphabetical format from A for Acer (maple trees) to Z for Zanthoxylum (American toothache trees). Until Kewmarker was enlarged and opened to the public, this remained the largest arboretum in Europe. It never achieved the recognition of the better financed early nineteenth century botanical gardens and arboreta that could afford members' events, indoor facilities and curatoral staff for those who paid accordingly. However unlike these, and even unlike the 'public' arboretum at Derby, the Abney Park arboretum always offered public access free of charge, though sometimes, by pre-arrangement; a Viewing Order was needed so as not to interfere with funeral events.

Arnold Arboretum
Harvard Universitymarker's Arnold Arboretummarker in Jamaica Plainmarker, Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous arboretum in the United States. It was established in 1872 on 107 ha (264 acres) of land in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston and was guided for many years by Charles Sprague Sargent who was appointed the Arboretum's first director in 1873 and spent the following 54 years shaping the policies. By an arrangement with the city of Boston, the Arnold Arboretum became part of the famous "Emerald Necklace", the 10 km (7 mile) long network of parks and parkways that Frederick Law Olmsted laid out for the Boston Parks Department between 1878 and 1892.

Arborétum Mlyňany
Arborétum Mlyňany is located in the area of two neighboring villages Vieska nad Žitavou and Tesárske Mlyňany near Zlaté Moravcemarker, Slovakiamarker. It was established in 1892 by Hungarian Count István Ambrózy-Migazzi. Today, it is governed by the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Within its 67 ha (165 acre) area, the arboretum features more than 2300 woody plant species, being one of the largest collections in Central Europe.

Batsford Arboretum
Situated one and a quarter miles west of Moreton-in-Marshmarker, Gloucestershiremarker, Batsford Arboretummarker is tucked away on a south facing escarpment of the famous Cotswold Hills.

Bedgebury National Pinetum
Bedgebury National Pinetummarker, near Goudhurstmarker, Kentmarker is one of the world's most complete collections of conifers.

Derby Arboretum
The first public arboretum in England was Derby Arboretummarker, laid out by J.C. Loudon, and donated to the citizens of Derbymarker by Joseph Strutt, on Wednesday 16 September 1840. In 1859 it was visited by Frederick Law Olmsted on his European tour of parks, and it had an influence on the planting in Central Parkmarker, New York. Loudon wrote a catalogue of the trees in Derby Arboretum in 1840. Industrial pollution killed most of the original plantings by the 1880s, but it is being renovated and replanted closer to Loudon's original layout.

Dropmore Park
Dropmore Parkmarker, Buckinghamshire (Bucks) England, was created in the 1790s for the Prime Minister at the time Lord Grenville. On his first day in occupation, he planted two cedar trees. At least another 2,500 trees were planted. By the time Grenville died in 1834, his pinetum contained the biggest collection of conifer species in Britain. Part of the post-millennium restoration is to use what survives as the basis for a collection of some 200 species.

Eastwoodhill Arboretum
Probably the largest collection of Northern Hemisphere trees in the Southern Hemisphere can be found at Eastwoodhill Arboretummarker, Ngatapa, Gisbornemarker, New Zealandmarker.

The arboretum is the realization of the dream of William Douglas Cook (1884-1967), who started planting trees on his farm shortly after the First World War. The arboretum is now the National Arboretum of New Zealand, and holds some 4,000 different trees, shrubs and climbers.

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
The Edith J.marker Carrier Arboretummarker is located at James Madison Universitymarker in Harrisonburgmarker, Virginiamarker, U.S.marker. Groundbreaking took place in April 1985 under direction of Dr. Norlyn Bodkin who is credited the first scientific botanical discovery along the Eastern Seaboard of Virginia since the 1940s, Trillium: Shenandoah Wake Robin, presently found at the arboretum. The only arboretum located on the campus of a Virginia state university. Exhibits include an acidic sphagnum bog supporting northern species and insectivorous plants, the only shale barren with endemic species in an arboretum, rare endangered large-flowered azaleas, of mature Oak-Hickory Forrest including two identified century specimens, and a species on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Threatened Species list found protected and propagated at the arboretum: Betula uber, Round-Leaf Birch.

Holden Arboretum
The Holden Arboretum, in Kirtland, Ohiomarker, USAmarker, is one of the largest arboretums and botanical gardens in the United States, with over 3,400 acres (1,376 ha), 600 acres (243 ha) of which are devoted to collections and gardens. The Arboretum is named for Albert Fairchild Holden, a mining engineer and executive, who had considered making Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum his beneficiary. However, his sister, Roberta Holden Bole, convinced him that Cleveland deserved its own arboretum. Thus Mr. Holden established an arboretum in memory of his deceased daughter, Elizabeth Davis.

Hoyt Arboretum
Located in Portlandmarker, Oregonmarker, United Statesmarker, the Hoyt Arboretummarker has over 75 ha (185 acres) and close to 8,300 different species of plants.

Jubilee Arboretum
This is located at RHS Garden, Wisleymarker, Surreymarker, England.

Kilmun Arboretum
Established in the 1930s, this Forestry Commission arboretum is at Kilmunmarker, Argyll and Bute, Scotlandmarker.

Lincoln Arboretum, England
Affectionately referred to as "The Arb", Lincoln Arboretummarker is to the east of the City and retains its line of sight up the hill to the nearby Lincoln Cathedralmarker. This was one of the original design features. It was laid out between 1870 and 1872 by Edward Milner and has been renovated since 2002.
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardenmarker
Originally called Los Angeles State & County Arboretum, it is located in Arcadia, Californiamarker.
Morton Arboretum
Located in Lislemarker, Illinoismarker the Morton Arboretummarker was founded in 1922 by Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company and son of Arbor Day originator Julius Sterling Morton. At 687 ha (1,700 acres) the Arboretum is one of the largest in the world, and features several mature deciduous and coniferous forests, as well as collections of plant life from around the globe, in addition to ten lakes, several wetlands, and a 40 ha (100 acre) restored prairie.

Nottingham Arboretum
Affectionately referred to as "The Arb", the Nottingham Arboretummarker is a large park that also gives its name to the residential area - in which it lies - of the City of Nottinghammarker, England.

Peru State College Arboretum
Peru State College’s “Campus of a Thousand Oaks,” an arboretum campus, is in southeast Nebraskamarker.

RJ Hamer Arboretum
Parks Victoria RJ Hamer Arboretum, Visitors to the RJ Hamer Arboretum can take a quiet, peaceful stroll along the many walking tracks and roads providing access to the 126 hectares of breathtaking scenery and tranquil beauty that the Arboretum has to offer. The RJ Hamer Arboretum land is a small part of the original Dandenong and Woori Yallock State forest, proclaimed over 110 years ago. The RJ Hamer Arboretum is the first known occasion in which a forest style Arboretum was completely established by planting. A basic planting design was completed in 1970 and planting was carried out for the next 15 years.

The Arboretum at Flagstaff
The Arboretum at Flagstaffmarker, at 7,150 feet (2180 m) above sea level, focuses on the native plants that thrive in the high, arid environment of the Colorado Plateau.

The Tasmanian Arboretum
The Tasmanian Arboretummarker was established in 1984 on the Don River in Devonport, Tasmaniamarker, Australia. The main site is 58ha. There are over 2500 plants in the geographic and thematic collections along with riparian revegetation. Maintenance of the collections is done by volunteers.

United States National Arboretum
In 1927 the United States National Arboretummarker was established in Washington, D.C.marker on 180 ha (444 acres) of land; currently it receives over half a million annual visitors. Single-genus groupings include apples, azaleas, boxwoods, dogwoods, hollies, magnolias and maples. Other major garden features include collections of herbaceous and aquatic plants, the National Bonsai and Penjing Museummarker, the Asian Collections, the Conifer Collections, native plant collections, the National Herb Garden and the National Grove of State Treesmarker. A unique feature of the U.S. National Arboretum is the National Capitol Columns, 23 Corinthian columns that were used in the United States Capitolmarker from 1828 until 1958.

University of Wisconsin Arboretum
The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretummarker in Madisonmarker, Wisconsinmarker is a study collection devoted to ecology rather than systematics. Founded in the 1930s, it was a Civilian Conservation Corps project which restored a body of land to its presettlement state. Portions of the Walt Disney nature documentary, "The Vanishing Prairie", were filmed there, notably the prairie fire, filmed during a controlled burn at the Arboretum.

Washington Park Arboretum
The Washington Park Arboretum at the University of Washingtonmarker in Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker was established in 1934 as a public space that would agreed upon by the University of Washington and the City of Seattle. Seattle at the time had in its possession a 500+ ha (1200+ acre) park known as Washington park located in the central portion of the city, and the University was given authority to design, construct, plant, and manage an Arboretum and Botanical Garden in this park. It has been a popular destination of Seattlites ever since. In 2005, the Washington Park Arboretum, as well as the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture, Elisabeth C. Miller Library, Otis HydeHerbarium and Union Bay Natural Area, began operating under the umbrella of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.

West Dean, St Roche's Arboretum
The St Roche's Arboretum at West Dean College is a 2 ½ mile circuit walk that encompasses a collection of specimen trees and shrubs. Edward James made a significant contribution to its planting, specialising in exotic, pendulous, contorted and twisted trees. It is also his final resting place - he is buried beneath a massive slab of Cumbrian slate inscribed by local artist John Skelton with the simple words 'Edward James, Poet 1907 - 1984'.

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