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Educational Specimens

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
Marcus Garvey



"Aspen Colony"


Children's Garden

"Home in a Trunk"


Lynx Pathways



Asian Habitats

"Mystery Grove"


Dottie's Garden

"Humulus Lupulus"



"Big Tree, Big Pods"



"The Gall of It"


Sensory Garden

"Who's Harry Lauder?"


Old Pond Collection

"The Tree Lab"


Millenium Grove

"A Place for Meditation"


Asian Garden

"The Ancients"


Located just west of the front entrance and also near the Birds of Prey exhibit are Aspen colonies. These collections of Quaking and Swedish Aspens represent a community of trees living sometimes as one organism. There are also emerging colonies throughout the arboretum, somewhat smaller at this time but nevertheless populating on a yearly basis. Click below to learn more about Aspens and "Panda Colony"

A tree may be slowly fading from life or even in stages of decay but it still lives to support habitat for many of the wild animals that exist in the arboretum. Because the Yellowstone Arboretum is in a more natural and native setting it is the home for tree dwelling animals like raccoons, bats and squirrels. A great example of this "house" can be found in the Children's Garden. Learn more about cottonwoods below.

A Spruce grove of endangered trees. Recently verified are specimens of Koyami and Serbian Spruce trees in this little grove located along the Lynx pathway. Both species are losing their native habitats, Koyami due to typhoons in Japan and Serbians due to over harvesting in the Drina River valley of southeast Europe. This area is not accessible to visitors but can be seen from the pathways. Learn more below.

Off the beaten path behind the Red Panda service building lies a mystery grove of conifers. And tucked within this grove is a fine collection of Bristlecone pines. The extensive accession records of the arboretum fails to identify the plantings of these trees, hence the mystery. Bristlecones are the oldest living trees with some specimens being identified as almost 5000 years old. The mystery continues. 

All the specimens at the arboretum are identified with both the common and Latin names. Humulus Lupulus is no exception. Arboretums not only consist of trees but also woody shrubs and vines.Major hint: Humulus Lupulus is a vine. It can be found rather easily in Dottie's Garden and not so easily in the Lynx habitat and on the Wolf Building. What is Humulus Lupulus ? Click below to find out.

Big leaves, big flowers, big branches, big tree. Found at the arboretum and also within the Billings city limits is the majestic Catalpa tree. The Yellowstone Arboretum has three specimens, two in the Homestead Collection and one hidden tree in the Sensory garden. Catalpas are beautiful trees when blooming but messy trees when they shed their long brown pods. Click learn more below.

Galls are interesting growths, not pretty but not a real danger either. The Bur Oak collection found on Amphitheater Knoll contains "Oak galls". A Hackberry tree in the east corral of the Homestead barn has "Nipple Galls". Do all trees get then? Well, you can find out for yourself by doing some sleuthing on your own. We have other Oak and Hackberry specimens on the grounds. Check them out below. 

That's a good question. There is a story behind Sir Harry Lauder's Walking Stick, the namesake for this plant which is actually a Filbert. We're not going to tell you the full story here. You'll have to click below to learn more. We have a great example of Harry's stick(s) located on the north berm of the Sensory garden. Look closely because sometimes it can be hidden just like the story of Sir Harry Lauder !

Just because you plant a tree doesn't mean it will survive. That's one of the important duties of an arboretum, to find out what lives, what thrives and what survives. The Old Pond Collection is such a place, a tree lab so to speak. Located at the front entrance that every visitor drives through when entering ZooMontana is our lab. Species have been experimented with here and not all live. See more below.

The "Millennium Grove" is a creation of our own devices. Imagined, planted and dedicated to the year 2000 celebration in Billings by past employee Dwayne Bondi the grove consists of 52 Black Hills Spruce trees planted in a meditation circle located between the Wolverine Garden and Asian Garden. It's a quiet location when you enter the grove. There's also an "Earth Pole" to tell you where you're at !

Some species of trees can be traced back millions of years. We have two of them located in the Asian Garden. The Gingko and Chinese Dawn Redwood are examples of ancient history. Both were introduced to the garden in 2018 and both fit in with this Asian-influenced garden. Both have unusual characteristics and both have unusual personalities. Learn more about "the Ancients" by clicking below.

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