Morton Arboretum, The

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United States of America - Illinois - Lisle

Institution Code: MOR

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

ArbNet Accredited: Level IV

About the Morton Arboretum, The

The mission of The Morton Arboretum is to collect and study trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world, to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy, and to learn how to grow them in ways that enhance our environment. Our goal is to encourage the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.

Main Address:
Morton Arboretum, The
4100 Illinois Route 53
Illinois 60532-1293 United States of America

Telephone: (630) 968-0074
Fax: (630) 719-2434
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Gerard T Donnelly PhD, President and CEO
    Curator's Name: Matt Lobdell, Head of Collections and Curator
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Ed Hedborn, Manager of Plant Records
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 45
    Educational Staff Number: 35
    Research Staff Number: 30
    Administration Staff Number: 135

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: Yes
    Status: Educational: Yes
  • Date founded: 1922
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 365 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
    Landscaped Area: Size: 325 Hectares
  • Total Area: 690 Hectares
    Latitude: 41.8078175
    Longitude: -88.0761409
    Annual Rainfall: 902 mm
    Altitude: 201.00 Metres

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 176000
    Arboretum: Yes
    Arboretum Size: 690
  • Published Plant Catalogue: Yes
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 1056000
    Number of Volunteers: 1300

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 9045
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 4114
  • Special Collections:Temperate trees and shrubs, elms (especially Asiatic species), North American species of Malus, crabapples, oaks, maples, northern Illinois taxa, Pinaceae & Cupressaceae, wild collected taxa from China, United States (Midwest, Ozarks and Appalachians), Europe and Caucasus. Schulenberg Prairie and Savannah, and Rare and Endangered Plant Collections
  • Invasive Species Monitoring: Yes
    Plant Collection Policy: Yes

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Yes
    Reintroduction Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Plant Breeding: Yes
    Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Ecology: Yes
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Exploration: Yes
    Floristics: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Urban Environments: Yes

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: Yes
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: Yes
    Courses for University/College Students: Yes
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes

Maintenance and restoration of natural areas and woodland habitats in Northern Illinois

The Morton Arboretum is the site of numerous restoration projects. This includes the restoration of a 40 hectare tallgrass prairie and savanna which is one of the oldest tallgrass restoration projects in the United States. The Schulenberg Prairie and Savanna was established in 1962 and has developed over the decades to include over 500 plant species, including the introduction of 9 endangered species. The propagule sources for this restoration all came from within 80 kilometres of the restoration site, many of which have been subsequently demolished due to development and urban sprawl. The high species richness of this restoration also ranks similarly to local prairie remnants, a feat which is incredibly difficult to attain in tallgrass prairie restorations.

Oak Savanna woodland

The Morton Arboretum is also restoring 280 hectares of oak woodland, known as East Woods, which contains an old second growth oak (Quercus alba, Q. rubra, Q. ellipsoidalis, Q. macrocarpa) canopy with a greater sapling layer presence of mixed mesophytic species. This restoration includes experimental methods of prescribed fire and canopy thinning to recruit oak seedlings, which are largely absent from the woodland. Current management activities have yielded significant increases in species richness, including two locally threatened plant species. Finally, overall habitat heterogeneity throughout the Arboretum’s natural areas has recently fostered more ecological restoration projects within wetlands and along 6 kilometres of streams.

More details about current restoration projects at Morton Arboretum please contact Kurt Dreisilker or click here.

Schulenberg Prairie at the Morton Arboretum, one of the oldest restored prairies in the Midwest United States, was established in 1962.