Donald E. Davis Arboretum

The Donald E. Davis Arboretum, in Auburn, Alabama, United States, is a public native plants museum, and botanical arboretum with educational facilities, event spaces, and a conservation program.[1][2] Its grounds, covering 13.5 acres (4.5 hectares) of Auburn University's campus, include cataloged living collections of associated tree and plant communities representative of Alabama's ecosystems,[1] among which is mixed oak forest, carnivorous bog, and longleaf pine savanna. The living collections include more than 1,000 plant types, including 500 different plant species, with over 3,000 cataloged specimens.[2] The Arboretum contains over a mile (2 km) of interwoven walking trails that meander through various southeastern biotopes.

The Donald E. Davis Arboretum
A Living Museum of Southeastern Native Plants
A bridge at Davis Arboretum (2011)
Donald E. Davis Arboretum is located in Alabama
Donald E. Davis Arboretum
Donald E. Davis Arboretum
Donald E. Davis Arboretum is located in the United States
Donald E. Davis Arboretum
Donald E. Davis Arboretum
MottoPromoting Education, Research, and Outreach
Location181 Garden Drive Auburn, Alabama 36830
Coordinates32°35′44″N 85°28′58″W / 32.59556°N 85.48278°W / 32.59556; -85.48278
Area13.5 acres (5.5 ha)
Established1963 (1963)
FounderDr. Donald E. Davis
Owned byAuburn University
Administered byMorgan Beadles, School of Biological Sciences
Open365 days a year
AwardsEagle Award, Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant
Paths1.2 miles (2km)
Waterpond and stream
CollectionsRhodadendron And Azalea Collection, Southeastern Oaks Collection, George's Trillium Garden, Carnivorous Pitcher Bog
FacilitiesMain Pavilion, Outdoor class rooms, Nursery
WebsiteDavis Arboretum

The arboretum's Rhododendron and Azalea Collection is one of the more extensive native azalea collections in the nation[3][4] and the nationally accredited Oaks Collection contains over 40 regional Quercus species.[2] The arboretum partners in a number of conservation projects through the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance (APCA) hosted by Auburn University and largely coordinated by the arboretum.[5]

History and mission edit

In 1959, by the proposal of Prof. Donald E. Davis, the Auburn University School of Agriculture passed a resolution asking that a plot of land located immediately south of the university president's home be used as an arboretum for Alabama's native trees. The plot, which was just north of the Old Rotation, contained forest, wetland, and pasture. Davis began surveying and working the Arboretum after its approval in 1963.[2] In 1977 the Arboretum was dedicated in his name. The mission of the Arboretum was established "to display and preserve living plant collections and native southeastern plant communities; to inspire an understanding of the natural world and our connection to it; and to promote education, research, conservation, and outreach."[1]

Auburn Founders Oak
Outdoor classroom by the Upland Carnivorous Bog

At the turn of the century, the Auburn Forestry department worked with the arboretum to document 900 tree specimens on campus and the arboretum's plant accessions database was built to facilitate an acorn collecting program to track the provenance of its specimens.[2] In 2002, Natureserve published a report showing that Alabama was among the most biologically diverse states in the nation.[6] This is in part because of the state's intersection of many physiogeographic regions creating ranges of species overlap.[7] Unfortunately, the state was also found to have the most extinctions in the continental US.[8] In light of this, staff and faculty from Auburn's School of Biological Sciences were invited to a meeting of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, and it was agreed that they would establish and host The Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance. The Arboretum staff and special collections curator, Patrick Thompson, began participating with state and federal conservation departments, private land owners, as well as other universities, and gardens in the statewide conservation program.[5]

Conservation and collections edit

Along with working on in situ conservation projects throughout the state, the APCA starts ex situ populations with the aid of the arboretum's propagation program. The native plants nursery tracks accession provenance as well as participates in genomic ecotype studies with about 20 institutions.[2][5] The Arboretum is also home to the only university plant collection accredited by the APGA’s Plant Collections Network in the SEC. It has one of two nationally accredited plant genera collections in the state of Alabama, the other being Huntsville Botanical Gardens Trillium collection.[2][9]

Rhododendron edit

The Rhododendron collection is world-renowned, containing 60 varieties of Rhododendron and Azalea including its own Auburn Azalea Series of hybrids.[2] During their period of bloom, the Arboretum is host to the Auburn Azalea Festival.[4]

Quercus edit

The arboretum's conservation program has participated in The Tree Gene Conservation projects with APGA and the USDA Forest Service for four oak species including the rare Quercus boyntonii.[2] Its oak collection contains all 39 of Alabama's oak species plus two more from Tennessee and Arkansas. The collection includes Auburn University's Founders Oak (Quercus stellata), which became the most prized tree on AU campus, after the 2010 Iron Bowl arboricidal rampage on the ceremonious live oaks across from Toomer's Corner.[10] The Founders Oak, considered the "heart of the Davis Arboretum", was planted in 1850, six years before the founding of what is now called Auburn University.[2]

Carnivorous plants edit

The arboretum's Carnivorous Bog contains species from all carnivorous genera of the Deep South, Sarracenia (19 sp.), Drosera (3 sp.), Dionaea, Utricularia, and Pinguicula.[11]

APCA projects edit

After 2014, the Arboretum partnered with APCA members conserving populations of endangered species from the Cahaba Ketona glade such as Xyris spathifoli. Other statewide APCA projects include the restoration of Harper's ginger (Hexastylis speciosa), Eastern turkeybeard, Pondberry, Giant whorled sunflower (Helianthus verticillatus), Green Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia oreophila), Alabama Canebrake Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia alabamensis), and various species in the 480 acre Haines Island Park on the Alabama River.[5]

Other notable species edit

Some notable species in the arboretum's collection include:[12]


























See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "About Us | The Donald E. Davis Arboretum".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Davis Arboretum: A Forest on The Plains". Alabama's Treasured Forests. Alabama Forestry Commission: 4. Fall 2020.
  3. ^ "Auburn Azalea Festival blooms Saturday&".
  4. ^ a b "Auburn Azalea Festival 2020".
  5. ^ a b c d "Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance".
  6. ^ Stein, Bruce. A. (2002). States of the Union: Ranking America's Biodiversity. NatureServe.
  7. ^ "BONAP state similarity in flora".
  8. ^ Douglas W. Tallamy (2009). Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Timber Press. ISBN 978-0881929928.
  9. ^ "Donald E. Davis Arboretum". Fall 2020.
  10. ^ "Alabama fan pleads guilty to poisoning iconic Auburn oaks". USA Today. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance Projects". Fall 2020. p. 10.
  12. ^ "Arboretum Plant List". Fall 2020.

External links edit