US National Arboretum



Washington, DC

Beltsville, Maryland; McMinnville, Tennessee

Dr. Richard T. Olsen, Director
Ms. Debbie Cicala, Administrative Officer
Dr. Margaret Pooler, Research Leader, Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit
Mr. Scott Aker, Unit Leader, Gardens Unit

5 different pictures from the Arboretum

Fast Facts About the Arboretum

Established in 1927 by an Act of Congress. The Arboretum is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

The U.S. National Arboretum enhances the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental and landscape plants through long-term, multi-disciplinary research, conservation of genetic resources, and interpretative gardens and exhibits.  

Northeast Washington, DC, with entrances on New York Avenue and R Street.  There are research locations in Washington, DC; Beltsville, Maryland; and McMinnville, Tennessee. 

446 acres with 9.5 miles of winding roadways.  

Annual Visitation
over 500,000

Federal Appropriation FY 15: $11,600,000

Support Organizations
American Nursery and Landscape Association, Friends of the National Arboretum, Garden Club of America, Herb Society of America, National Bonsai Foundation, National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc., National Capital Orchid Society, The National China Garden Foundation, National Garden Clubs, Inc., Society of American Florists, and Woman's National Farm & Garden Association. 


Over 140, working in all areas of the Arboretum.  

Internship positions are in horticulture, research, education, facilities management, and public garden administration and are supported by non-profit organizations, and privately donated funds.

Wide-ranging basic and developmental research on trees, shrubs, turf, and floral plants.  Development of new technologies for the floral and nursery industries.  Development of plants with superior characteristics through a program of testing and genetic improvement.  Taxonomy and nomenclature of ornamental plants and their wild relatives. Collection and preservation of plant germplasm with ornamental potential. 

Single‑genus groupings include: azalea, boxwood, daffodil, daylily, dogwood, holly, magnolia, and maple.  Major garden features include: aquatic plants, the Asian Collections, the Fern Valley Native Plant Collections, the Flowering Tree Collection, the Flowering Tree Walk, the Friendship Garden, the Gotelli Dwarf and Slow‑Growing Conifer Collection, the Introduction Garden, the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, the National Capitol Columns, the National Grove of State Trees, and the National Herb Garden. 

Public education programs, including symposia, lectures, workshops, and demonstrations; plant, flower, and art exhibitions; interpretive brochures and signs; group tours; public relations.  

Over 150 scientific articles in professional and trade journals in the last 3 years. Various program aids for visitors. Eight publications in the National Arboretum Contribution series.  

Plant Introductions
678 official plant releases. Eight patents and two EPA biopesticide registrations.  

Cooperative Programs
Alfred State University, Auburn University, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Cornell University, Danforth Plant Science Center, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, National Turfgrass Federation, North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, Oregon State University, Rutgers University, Tennessee State University, University of Arizona, University of California, University of Connecticut, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Tennessee, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin, USDA Forest Service, US Golf Association, Washington State University.

International Cooperation
Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, People's Republic of China, Russia, and South Africa.

Permanent reference collection of over 650,000 specimens of dried pressed plants for scientific studies in agriculture, horticulture, botany, medicine, and other related fields. Contains plants from around the world, with a special emphasis on cultivated plants. Especially well represented groups include azaleas (Rhododendron), cherries (Prunus), daffodils (Narcissus), daylilies (Hemerocallis), hollies (Ilex), oaks (Quercus), viburnums (Viburnum), and willows (Salix).  

U.S. National Arboretum Strategic Plan 3
For more than a year a team of horticultural science and public garden experts met to develop a new strategic plan for the U.S. National Arboretum to guide our programs, priorities, resources, and relationships over the next five years. Information about the 2013-2017 Strategic Plan for the U.S. National Arboretum may be found here.

U.S. National Arboretum Master Plan Introduction
Introduction to the U.S. National Arboretum Master Plan, which responds to the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan 2.
Download the U.S. National Arboretum Master Plan Introduction (PDF: 33 K).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Last Updated   December 24, 2015 8:14 AM
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