Who We Are (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.


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


451 acres with 9 miles of winding roadways.

Annual Visitation

over 700,000


Federal Appropriation FY23: $14,702,347

Support Organizations

Friends of the National Arboretum, Herb Society of America, National Bonsai Foundation, Ikebana International Chapter No. 1, National Capitol Area Garden Clubs, Inc., and Woman’s National Farm & Garden Association.




Over 70, working in all areas of the Arboretum.


We support internships in horticulture, research, and education. Funding comes from federal appropriations, nonprofit organizations, and private donations.


The Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit has a broad-based program supporting basic and developmental research and the implementation of new technologies for the florist and nursery industries. Emphasis is on developing new floral, nursery, and turf plants; detecting and controlling pathogens in ornamental plants; taxonomy of ornamental plants; improvement of nursery production systems; and curation of woody landscape plant germplasm as part of the National Plant Germplasm System.


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 Conifer Collection, the Introduction Garden, the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, the National Capitol Columns, and the National Herb Garden.


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


Over 65 scientific articles in professional and trade journals in the last 3 years. Various program aids for visitors.

Plant Introductions

684 official plant releases. Nine patents and two EPA biopesticide registrations.

Cooperative Programs

American Public Gardens Association, Arizona State University, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Botanic Garden Conservation International, National Turfgrass Federation, North Carolina State University, Ohio University, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education , Tennessee State University, Texas A&M University, University of Nebraska, and Virginia Tech

International Cooperation

Australia, Belgium, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom

Herbarium Collections

Permanent reference collection of 700,000 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), hollies (Ilex), oaks (Quercus), viburnums (Viburnum), and willows (Salix). The National Seed Herbarium contains an additional 120,000 samples of preserved seeds and fruits used primarily as a reference for plant identification by researchers and federal agencies.