By the Numbers: Morris Arboretum

Due in part to the hard work of Chief Horticulturalist Vince Morracco (see story, page 5), the Morris Arboretum is one of the most beautiful public gardens in the area with, a 92-acre plant-lovers’ paradise in Chestnut Hill. Here are some facts and figures about the Arboretum, which besides being a Penn institution is also the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Arboretum is located at 100 East Northwestern Ave. in Chestnut Hill. For more information, call 215-247-5777 or visit


Dollars given to the Arboretum in June by Gov. Ed Rendell. The money will be used by the Arboretum to build a new Horticulture Center, which will host lectures, classes and symposia.


Number of different types of plants included in the Arboretum’s living collection, a collection that began with founder John Morris’ interest in the plants of the world.


Number of countries those plants come from, including nations in Asia and Europe. In recent years, Arboretum staff has been focusing especially on Asian temperate species.


Total width, in feet, of the Arboretum’s unique Katsura tree, which is significantly wider than it is tall (67 feet). Perhaps the largest Katsura in North America, it was planted at the Arboretum in the early 1900s and is considered the garden’s best tree specimen by staff and visitors.


Number of seasons when the Arboretum is worth a visit. While spring and summer may draw the largest crowds, there’s plenty to see in the fall and winter too. From September through November, check out the brilliant foliage from the garden’s maples, black gum, sweet gum, dogwoods and oaks. And in the otherwise bleak and miserable winter months, enjoy the surprising color and interest provided by paperbark maple, stewartia, kousa dogwoods, hollies and rare and unusual conifers.

Originally published on September 21, 2006