The Arboretum portion of the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens contains over 429 woody plants. These plants represent over 60 genus (such as maples, oaks, etc…) and, of those genus, there are over 200 species and cultivars. All of the plants were chosen for their ability to thrive within our Upper Midwest climate and soil conditions. The plants sit in a park-like setting and — from the first Magnolia blooms in the spring to the exciting fall colors of the Maples — they provide interest year round.
Many of our plants are arranged into ‘collections.’ These collections allow visitors to view the diversity of a plant’s species and cultivars with a close proximity to each other. Our various Plant Collections:
The Maple collection is of the genus ‘Acer’. We have over 87 plants within our collection that represent over 38 species and varieties. The Maples are known for their wonderful fall colors, their deep summer shade and their helicopter seeds. Visitors and school classrooms spreadout over the Maple collection each fall to enjoy the vibrant color display and collect the fallen leaves for their scrapbooks.
But they’re not only large shade trees. The Paper Bark Maple, Acer griseum has one of the most beautiful barks in the Arboretum. And the leaves of the Japanese Maples have beautiful colors of delicate shapes and plants are of smaller sizes perfect for our smaller home gardens.
The Oak collection is of the genus ‘Quercus’. We have over 38 plants within our collection that represent over 11 species and varieties. The Oaks are known for their stately statue, wonderful fall colors and those nuts with caps, the acorn. The Oak is the national tree of the United States. There has been over 400 Swamp White Oaks, Quercus bicolor, planted in New York City at the 9/11 Memorial site.
Enjoy species native to the upper Midwest: the White Oak, Quercus alba and the Burr Oak, Quercus, macrocarpa
Crabapples are of the genus ‘Malus.’ We have over 38 plants in our collection representing over 18 species and cultivars. The crabapples are famous for their spring flower display. Visitors flock to the lawns to enjoy the beautiful white, pink and red flowers. They also have another wonderful display in the fall with their fruit, the actual crabapples. The mature plants vary in sizes. Some range as high as 40 feet while the Sargent Crabapples, Malus sargentii are only 6 to 8 feet high.
Magnolias are of the genus ‘Magnolia.’We have over 28 plants in our collection representing 18 species and cultivars. The Magnolias start each season at the Arboretum with their soft grey buds opening to the beautiful white and pink blossoms. Their fragrance fills the entire Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. We are told the Magnolia has ancient origins. Fossilized plants have been found dating 20 million years ago. Our more Northern varieties grow to about 30 feet. Some are shrub-like up to about 10 feet high.
Birches are from the genus ‘Betula.’ We have more than ten plants in our collection representing three species and cultivars. Most of our birches are natives. Birches are known for their beautiful bark ranging from the ghostly smooth white of the Himalayan Birch, Betual jacquemontii, to the exfoliating barks of the native River Birch, Betula nigra and the Paper whites of Betula papyifera. The birches have a wonderful golden fall color. Please take the time to look for a unique red leafed x cultivar known as Crimson Frost.
Lilacs are of the genus ‘Syringa.’ We have over 97 plants in 22 species and cultivars. Many of our visitors look forward to the spring display of the Lilacs. In addition to the beautiful clumps of flowers, the fragrance is a memory-filled experience. Lilacs are native to the Balkan Peninsula. They were brought to North America by the colonists. Both Washington and Jefferson treasured the lilacs in their gardens.
[ Description provided by Steven Ulstad. ]