Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Notice: Our website is currently undergoing maintenance and information may not be current. For assistance please contact


Plant Distribution and Collaboration Activities

The Arboretum has a long history of serving as a source of plant distribution as a result of the staff’s ability to collect and grow a diversity of plants from a wide variety of sources. This provides an opportunity to share the benefits of these efforts, helps to preserve germplasm, and introduces a wide gardening audience to new and unusual plants. Over the past decade, some of the most significant of the distributions have included the following species:

Farges filbert - Corylus fargesii

Of the many taxa collected by the Arboretum over the past twenty years, few arouse more excitement among professional and lay horticulturists than Corylus fargesii. The trees display exquisite, exfoliating tan and copper bark that rivals the most attractive birches, and is especially reminiscent of river birch (Betula nigra). The Arboretum, with a NACPEC team, collected seed of this species in China in 1996 and 2005, and trees grown from these collections can now be found throughout the Arboretum. In the mid-1990s, seedlings were given to numerous botanic gardens, resulting in the widespread distribution of this highly desirable species. Several years ago, seed from the 1996 trees was collected and began to germinate; this has been so successful that this past January, seedlings were sent to eight organizations, ranging from Massachusetts to Minnesota and south to Georgia.

Chinese hemlock - Tsuga chinensis

Native Canada hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) has been afflicted by hemlock wooly adelgid, resulting in the severe decline of native and cultivated populations across the central and southern portions of its native range. Chinese hemlock is resistant to the adelgid, providing an opportunity to function as a replacement for Canada hemlock in cultivated areas, and to possibly breed resistance into the native species.

Prior to the late 1970s, Chinese hemlock appears to have only been introduced into North America only once. Beginning in the early 1990s, the Arboretum and its NACPEC colleagues made a concerted effort to introduce this species. These efforts resulted in 33 collections of Chinese hemlock, the addition of 55 plants to the Arboretum’s own collections, and numerous seedlings being distributed to botanical gardens. The most significant of these distributions has been to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, to whom 96 plants were provided during the past 10 years.

Flowering cherries – Prunus

In recent years Anthony Aiello, the Director of Horticulture and Curator, has focused on Japanese flowering cherries and has surveyed public gardens in the northeastern U.S. to find rare and unique varieties. The goal of this project is to propagate and re-distribute the plants to a wider audience of public gardens and private collectors. This effort has resulted in a fast turnaround and this past spring, nine varieties propagated over the past three years were distributed to the Scott Arboretum and the New York Botanical Garden. The results of this work were recently published in Arnoldia.

Back to top

Plant Clinic

Learn More

Plant Collection Catalogue (PDF)

Download PDF

Back to top

Alerts & Updates

COVID-19 Response

In response to the unprecedented public health crisis related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Morris Arboretum will close to the public as of March 14, 2020 until the University of Pennsylvania feels that is it safe to re-open. Learn more about the Univerisity's response on the University of Pennsylvania’s dedicated Coronavirus website: Please know that this decision was made after careful deliberation and that our priority is to do all we can to ensure the safety and well being of our staff, volunteers, and visitors. Information pertaining to public health is rapidly evolving and, as such, it is not yet known when we will reopen. We will be vigilant in our efforts to keep our website up-to-date and we will communicate directly to members and class registrants via email with the latest details.

The following information is provided in anticipation of some of the questions you may have relative to the following categories:

Individuals who have registered for a class
It is our intention to provide a refund to individuals who have registered for a class that occurs during this temporary closure. We are working as quickly as possible to process your refunds in the manner in which you paid. If you have questions, please contact

Annual Membership
We appreciate your patience at this time. We know that early spring is the most natural time to come out to the Arboretum for a walk in the gardens to enjoy the fresh air, but maintaining public health must be our priority. We look forward to seeing you in the gardens just as soon as we are reassured that it is safe for all of our visitors to return. We will keep you updated on any developments, but in the meantime, if you have any questions about your membership, please contact

Planned Events
Any individuals that have planned events will receive outreach directly from a staff member to discuss your options.

We will continue to update the community as soon as information is available and is consistent with the evolution of this dynamic situation. Questions may be directed to

We appreciate your understanding during these challenging times and we thank you for your support. Please stay connected with us through Facebook, Instagram, and our website.

Center for Disease Control (CDC):
University of Pennsylvania’s dedicated Coronavirus website:

Unfortunately, Out on a Limb will be closed on Wednesday, January 29th through Friday, January 31, 2020 due to scheduled maintenance.

The Garden Railway will not be operational from 2:00 PM Friday (July 19) through the weekend (July 20-21). The trains will open for normal operation on Monday, July 22nd. Our Train Master reported that the trains will not operate in the excessive heat, citing electrical, track and rolling stock failures.

The Arboretum is open as usual. Click here for hours.

Garden Railway trains are not running Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th due to inclement weather.

Please note: The Rose Garden is closed for maintenance every Thursday morning until noon.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.