AZ Arboretums

History of the ASU Arboretum

Located on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, the Arboretum is a flourishing oasis of plants from around the world.

From tall, stately palms and rugged Himalayan pines to rare fruit trees and cacti, a visit to the ASU Arboretum is a colorful, multi-faceted journey through the world of plants. The Arboretum is home to over 300 species from diverse geographic regions as well as the Sonoran Desert.

The ASU Arboretum was dedicated on November 20, 1990. This date, however, is not the date of its beginning. We may truthfully say that the gestation period of these plantings has been 90 years, dating from the first hiring of a landscape architect by President Matthews to the formal declaration by President Coor that our campus was, in truth, a going arboretum.

The stated goals of the ASU Arboretum are the acquisition, development, maintenance, and display of plants which illustrate the complex ecological systems on earth, the diversity of the plants, and their botanical relationships. Included are a wide array of plants useful to humans, those most appropriate for general landscape purposes in the arid Southwest, and rare plants of the world.

The Arboretum is also used as an outdoor classroom appropriate for research, teaching, learning, recreation and public service.

The ASU Arboretum is concerned with proper water management and conservation, and will emphasize this in the operation of the campus arboretum. Their plantings represent adapted plants available in the world, not just those in the limited ecological desert niche.