Spring Edition

Yellowstone Arboretum


Spring is finally here and the arboretum will be blossoming with color and texture as new life begins another season. We are excited about the possibilities this year and aim to share those with you in this our Spring newsletter. Blossoms, new introductions and more are shared below so sit back and enjoy the tour.

(left) American Elderberry-Plaza Junction

(right) Donald Wyman Crabapple-Asian Garden




You may have noticed that there are two areas of the Botanical Park that received Monarch Way Station designation, The Children's Garden and Dotties Garden. We are pleased to announce that the Old Pond has now been registered as a Monarch habitat. This area located near the entrance bridge to the Zoo is home to Swamp Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Water Iris and cattails. More information can be found on the front page of the arboretum website !

Editor's Note: Look for the Monarch Way Station designation signs on the grounds


" White on White "

White and yellow dominate the earliest blossoms in the arboretum. The first indication each year is the Cornelian Dogwood located in the northeast corner of the Sensory Garden with it's yellow flowers. That's usually followed by the Pear Collection like to Callery Pear (above) located in waterways, The Asian Pear located in the Asian Garden and the Prairie Gem Pear on the east hill of the Sensory Garden. And finally, the Yellow Horn (right) located in the Sensory Garden.




Curator's note: There are three "cherry" trees on the grounds worth noting. Two are located behind the Homestead barn, a Montmorency Cherry and a Cherry Plum both early bloomers. The third has an interesting history. It's a Meteor Cherry, dwarf tree, that was planted in 2003 located in the upper Tiger Viewing area. It was  $7.00 nursery reject and although it may have seen better days it is a dependable specimen, blooming and setting fruit every year. It is pictured at the top of the page along with the tiger exhibit.

Note: Cherry blossoms peaked in Japan by March 30 of this year. This was the earliest peak display in the last 1200 years !

A cherry blossom is a flower of many trees of genus Prunus or Prunus subg. Cerasus. They are also known as Japanese cherry and sakura ( or ; さくら or サクラ ). They generally refer to ornamental cherry trees, not to edible cherry trees. It is considered the national flower of Japan.


Wild species of cherry tree are widely distributed mainly in the northern hemisphere. 

In the mainstream classification in Europe and North America, cherry trees for ornamental purposes are classified into the genus Prunus which consists of about 400 species. In the mainstream classification in Japan, China, and Russia, on the other hand, ornamental cherry trees are classified into the genus Cerasus, which consists of about 100 species separated from the genus Prunus, and the genus Cerasus does not include Prunus salicina, Prunus persica (Peach), Prunus mume, Prunus grayana, etc. In Europe and North America, however, there were not many wild cherry trees with many large flowers suitable for cherry blossom viewing. Many of them were different from the typical cherry tree shapes and flowers for cherry blossom viewing that people today imagine.


In mainland China, there has been a culture of viewing Plum blossoms since ancient times, and there were many wild species of cherry blossoms, but many of them had small flowers, and the distribution area of wild species of cherry blossoms, which bore large flowers suitable for hanami, was often limited to a small area away from people's living areas. On the other hand, in Japan, Prunus speciosa (Oshima cherry) and Prunus jamasakura (Yamazakura), which bloom large flowers suitable for cherry blossom viewing and tend to become large trees, were distributed in a fairly wide area of the country and close to people's living areas. Therefore, it is considered that the culture of viewing cherry blossoms and the production of cultivars have developed historically in Japan.


Many of the cherry trees currently enjoyed for cherry blossom viewing are not wild species but cultivar. Because cherry trees have a mutable trait, many cultivars have been created for cherry blossom viewing, especially in Japan. Since the Heian period in the medieval period, the Japanese have produced many cultivars by selecting superior or mutant individuals that were born from natural crossings of wild cherry trees, or by crossing them artificially, and then breeding them by grafting and cutting. Oshima cherry, Yamazakura, Prunus pendula f.ascendens (syn, Prunus itosakura, Edohigan), and so on, which grow naturally in Japan, are easy to mutate, and especially Oshima cherry, which is an endemic species in Japan, tend to mutate into double-flowered, grow fast, have many large flowers, and have a strong fragrance; therefore, Oshima cherry has produced many sakura called Sato-zakura Group as a mother of cultivars because of its favorable characteristics. The representative cultivars whose parent species is Oshima cherry are Yoshino cherry and Kanzan, Yoshino cherries are actively planted in Asian countries, and Kanzan is actively planted in Western countries.


In Europe, from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Collingwood Ingram, an Englishman, collected and studied Japanese cherry blossoms, and created various ornamental cultivars, and the culture of cherry blossom viewing began to spread. In the United States, cherry blossom viewing began to spread after Japan presented cherry blossoms as a token of friendship in 1912.


"Arboretum Travel Escape"

Curator's note: Having visited the Morton Arboretum as a young kid my memory is vague. I do remember the fascinating amount of trees and the rainy day we spent looking at them. Little did I know at that time that my interest in trees would peak in my "retired" years. Here's a couple of arboretum escape videos for your enjoyment.



For the first time in The Morton Arboretum's 93-year history, more than one million tree champions visited our living tree laboratory located in Lisle, Illinois. The Arboretum's record-setting year is a testament to the value of trees, reflecting our community's drive to engage with nature through exhibits, special events, education, and more. As a self-funded not-for-profit, the Arboretum's work to study, save, and share trees relies on the support of each visitor.


Joy Morton founded The Morton Arboretum as a “great outdoor museum” of trees more than nine decades ago, with the goal of creating a greener, healthier, more beautiful world. Today, the Arboretum has grown to be much more, while still focusing on that vital mission


At the Arboretum, we champion the world's trees through scientific study, conservation, education, and outreach. We protect and plant trees in a 1,700-acre outdoor living museum, in Chicago-area communities, and around the world. We offer extensive educational programming for all ages. We are a living laboratory, leading research on tree health and tree improvement, and breeding and introducing hardy and disease-resistant trees and shrubs for distribution throughout the Midwest. We also present nature-related activities year-round for people of every age and interest.


Every visitor who engages with us is a link in our work as the champion of trees, advancing our founding vision.

See for yourself what more than one million visitors have witnessed this year. We invite you to visit the Arboretum any day.


"The mission of the Yellowstone Arboretum is to cultivate arboreta appreciation and understanding of our local heritage through public education, organic preservation and stewardship of our natural environment."





East Hill-Sensory Garden



Wolverine Habitat / Asian Garden


Various locations throughout



Homestead Collection



Homestead Garden / Waterways



Homestead Collection


2021 TRIAL SPECIES "Witchhazel"

Wolf Woodland Gardens

See cover story on home webpage


2021 INTRODUCTION "Quince"

Asian Habitats


2021 INTRODUCTION "Autumn Cherry"

The Dell