The Morton Arboretum

The Arboretum is a restorative and rejuvenating place that reminds people of the value and importance of trees. It also inspires them to protect and defend them.

Joy Morton of Morton Salt fame turned his country estate 25 miles west of Chicago into an outdoor museum of trees and plants. He established a trust fund to ensure that the Arboretum would continue after his death. This is a fantastic article to read.

Enjoy Nature

The Arboretum is a living museum of trees and plants, featuring garden displays and collections, surrounded by natural landscapes of woodlands and restored prairie. The Arboretum is also a center for nature-based learning, research in tree science, and conservation efforts.

Founded in 1922 by Joy Morton (1855-1934), founder of the Morton Salt Company and son of Julius Sterling Morton, who inaugurated Arbor Day, the 1,700-acre Arboretum features many botanical gardens, tree collections, and natural landscapes. Joy appointed family members and two Morton Salt executives to life terms on the Board of Trustees, ensuring long-term vision for the organization and fulfillment of its mission.

The Arboretum offers a variety of experiences to enjoy nature throughout the seasons, including hiking trails, a one-acre Maze Garden, and the Schulenberg Prairie—one of the largest restored prairie areas in Illinois. The Arboretum also features the Children’s Garden and a Fragrance Garden and is home to the world’s most diverse collection of climbing roses.

Learn About Trees

The Arboretum has many collections that highlight different types of trees. The Oak Collection, for example, contains well-documented specimens from around the world. Oaks are one of the most common and important tree species in North America. The Elm Collection is another of the Arboretum’s oldest, most beloved, and influential collections. The shady, parklike setting is home to more than 75 different kinds of elm (Ulmaceae) species, and the Arboretum’s elm research helped launch a nationwide effort to combat Dutch elm disease by introducing cultivated varieties that resist this devastating fungus.

You can learn about ornamental flowering trees in the Crabapple Collection, and get ideas for planting your own backyard trees in the Ornamental Flowering Trees area. You can also take a day trip to eastern, southeastern, and western United States woodlands and wetlands when you explore the North American Collections. The Arboretum horticulturists have carefully selected plants from these regions that perform well in northern Illinois’ climate and soil conditions. Discover More about Glen Ellyn here.

Explore a World of Plants

When Joy Morton of Morton Salt fame turned his 1,700-acre estate into the Arboretum, he created a place for people to treasure being among trees and to study their importance. Today, The Arboretum continues its vision with internationally recognized tree research and educational programs.

Explore diverse collections of more than 200,000 living plants, including rare and endangered species, throughout the grounds. Discover how plants from around the world thrive in the Arboretum’s northern Illinois climate and soils.

Arboretum scientists conduct practical scientific studies in the field and in the state-of-the-art Research Center Herbarium. They also work to advance the field of tree science through collaborations with other arboreta and horticultural societies.

The Arboretum is proud to be a champion of trees in the Chicago area and beyond. Your admissions, memberships, and donations fund important work that has a significant impact on our community and the world. Thanks to you, the Arboretum’s mission of encouraging the planting and conservation of trees for a greener, healthier, more beautiful world has never been more relevant.

Be a Champion of Trees

In 1909, Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company, purchased land 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle to create a rural estate. He named his home Thornhill, for its location and the surrounding hawthorn trees. Morton began to plan for an arboretum, or outdoor museum of trees, in which he could display plants from around the world within naturally beautiful landscapes.

He sought advice from Charles Sprague Sargent, director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Sargent visited Thornhill several times, reviewed initial plans, and provided a wealth of general guidance and encouragement.

The Arboretum has continued to grow and expand since its founding. Today, the Arboretum is an internationally renowned garden and research center. Its staff focuses on practical scientific studies, tree health and conservation improvement, and woodland conservation through its state-of-the-art Research Center and herbarium. Its programs serve the local community by developing strategies for urban and suburban forest improvement. Through ArbNet, it is an active member of a global network of arboretums and gardens dedicated to tree study and preservation. Continue reading about McCollum Park.



Driving directions from SBS Waste Solutions to The Morton Arboretum

Driving directions from The Morton Arboretum to McCollum Park