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Arboretum

From Academic Kids

An arboretum is a botanical garden primarily devoted to trees and other woody plants, forming a living collection of trees intended at least partly for scientific study. An arboretum specialising in growing conifers is known as a pinetum.

The term 'arboretum' was first used in English by J. C. Loudon in 1838 in his encyclopaedic book Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, but the concept was already long-established by then.

The first arboretum to be designed and planted was the Arboretum Trsteno, near Dubrovnik in Croatia. Its start date is unknown, but it was already in existence by 1492, when a 15 m span aqueduct to irrigate the arboretum was constructed; this aqueduct is still in use. It was created by the prominent local Gucetic (Gozze) family, who were recorded as requesting ship captains to bring back seeds and plants from their travels. It passed into Yugoslav state ownership in 1945, but suffered extensive damage and looting during the Yugoslav wars of 1991-1995. The arboretum was further severely damaged by a forest fire during a drought in 2000, but the pride of the arboretum, two Oriental Planes over 500 years old, survived both disasters undamaged; these ancient trees are both about 45 m tall and 5 m trunk diameter. It is currently owned and managed by the Croatian state.

Autumn colours at , Gloucestershire, England
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Autumn colours at Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, England

The Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England, was founded around 1828 as the private tree collection of Captain Robert Holford at the Holford estate. Holford planted in open fields and laid out rides before he rebuilt the house. Planting at Westonbirt was continued by his son, George Holford. Eventually the estate passed to the government in lieu of death duties and was opened to the public.

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A Serpentine Walk at Derby Arboretum (England). The twisted tree in the foreground is a 160 year old wild pear

The first public arboretum in England was Derby Arboretum, laid out by J.C. Loudon, and donated to the citizens of Derby by Joseph Strutt, on Wednesday 16 September 1840. In 1859 it was visited by Frederick Law Olmsted on his European tour of parks, and it had an influence on the planting in Central Park, New York. Loudon wrote a catalogue of the trees in Derby Arboretum in 1840; unfortunately, industrial pollution killed most of the original plantings by the 1880s, but it is currently being renovated and replanted closer to Loudon's original layout.

Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous arboreta in the United States. It was established in 1872 on 107 ha of land in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston and was guided for many years by Charles Sprague Sargent who was appointed the Arboretum's first director in 1873 and spent the following 54 years shaping the policies. By an arrangement with the city of Boston, the Arnold Arboretum became part of the famous "Emerald Necklace", the 10 km (7 mile) long network of parks and parkways that Frederick Law Olmsted laid out for the Boston Parks Department between 1878 and 1892.

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In 1927 the United States National Arboretum was established in Washington D.C. on 180 ha of land; currently it receives over half a million annual visitors. Single-genus groupings include apples, azaleas, boxwoods, dogwoods, hollies, magnolias and maples. Other major garden features include collections of herbaceous and aquatic plants, the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, the Asian Collections, the Conifer Collections, native plant collections, the National Herb Garden and the 'National Grove' of all the designated State Trees.

The Arboretum at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin is a study collection devoted to ecology rather than systematics. Founded in the 1930s, it was a Civilian Conservation Corps project which restored a body of land to its presettlement state. Portions of the Walt Disney nature documentary, "The Vanishing Prairie", were filmed there, notably the prairie fire, filmed during a controlled burn at the Arboretum.

Bedgebury Pinetum near Goudhurst, Kent is one of the world's most complete collections of conifers.

External links

de:Arboretum fr:Arboretum nl:Arboretum pl:Arboretumsv:Arboretum

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