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 and R Street. There are research locations in Washington, DC; Beltsville, Maryland; and McMinnville, Tennessee.


451 acres with 9.5 miles of winding roadways.

Annual Visitation

over 600,000


Federal Appropriation FY 17: $11,758,181

Support Organizations

AmericanHort, Friends of the National Arboretum, Garden Club of America, Herb Society of America, National Bonsai Foundation, National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc., The National China Garden Foundation, National Garden Clubs, Inc., and Woman’s National Farm & Garden Association.




Over 171, working in all areas of the Arboretum.


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


Wide-ranging developmental and applied research on trees, shrubs, turf, and floral plants. Development of new technologies for the floral and nursery industries. Development of superior landscape plants through a program of genetic improvement, evaluation, and selection. Taxonomy and nomenclature of ornamental plants and their wild relatives. Collection, preservation, and distribution of ornamental plant germplasm.


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, 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 100 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, American Public Gardens Association, Morton Arboretum, National Turfgrass Federation, New York Botanical Garden, Republic of Georgia, Rutgers University, Tennessee State University, Texas A&M University, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin, USDA Forest Service, US Golf Association, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

International Cooperation

Canada, Israel, Korea, Netherlands, People’s Republic of China, Portugal


Permanent reference collection of over 800,000 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).