Morris Arboretum

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania (37 ha / 92 acres) is the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The arboretum is open daily except major holidays; an admission fee is charged.


The arboretum was formerly the estate of John and Lydia Morris, who purchased and landscaped much of the arboretum's current site starting from the 1880s. Morris was interested in growing plants from around the world, including those collected in China by E. H. Wilson around 1900, and many of today's specimens date to Morris' original plantings. The estate became a public arboretum in 1933.


Today the arboretum contains more than 13,000 labelled plants of over 2,500 types, representing the temperate floras of North America, Asia, and Europe, with a primary focus on Asia. Significant collections include native azaleas, conifers, hollies, magnolia species, maples, roses, and witch hazels. The arboretum has identified 17 trees in its collection as outstanding specimens: Abies cephalonica, Abies holophylla, Acer buergerianum, Aesculus flava, Cedrus libani var. atlantica 'Glauca', Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Fagus engleriana, Fagus sylvatica f. pendula, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Pinus bungeana, Platanus × acerifolia, Quercus alba, Quercus × benderi, Tsuga canadensis f. pendula, Ulmus glabra 'Horizontalis', Ulmus parvifolia, and Zelkova serrata.


The arboretum is set within a fine, mature landscape, primarily designed in the English park style but with Japanese influences. It includes winding paths and streams, a swan pond, formal rose gardens, and large sweeps of azaleas, rhododendrons, and magnolias. Notable aspects of the arboretum are as follows:

  • English Park (circa 1912) - mainly planted with species collected in China, with significant collections of maples, witch hazels, dogwoods, cherries, and stuartias.
  • Fernery (1899) - an 8-sided glass house said to be the only remaining free-standing Victorian fernery in North America. Morris ordered his original ferns from London expert John Birkenhead. The collection was botanically grouped and labelled; it included 523 fern varieties and 47 Selaginella (club moss) varieties.
  • Garden Railway - G scale trains and trolley cars running on 45 mm track (1¾"), and representing railroads throughout history, including freight and passenger models.
  • Greenhouse - closed to the public; little now remains of Morris' original structure.
  • Japanese Overlook (1912) - a hybrid of English rock garden with Japanese garden, landscaped with fudo stones, stone lanterns, and Japanese maples, conifers, and smaller acid-loving plants.
  • Japanese Hill and Water Garden (1905) - Tsukiyama-niwa style garden with hills, rocks, water, trees, bridges, paths, shrines and lanterns.
  • Mercury Loggia and Ravine Garden (1913) - classical loggia housing a sculpture of "Mercury at rest", with grotto and a picturesque rock garden within the valley below.
  • Rose Garden (1888) - a buxus-edged rose garden in four quadrants.
  • Rock Wall Garden (1924) - alpine plants on a six-foot-high wall.
  • Swan Pond (1905) - a small lake created by digging and damming the East Brook.
  • Compton Mansion (aka Morris House, 1887-1888, demolished 1968)

Morris Arboretum also owns Springfield Mill, which is located opposite the main entrance. The grist mill has been restored and is open to the public once a month for grinding demonstrations.

See also

  • List of botanical gardens in the United States
  • List of parks in Philadelphia

External links

Listed in the following categories:
Post a comment
Tips & Hints
Arrange By:
The Ritz-Carlton
23 June 2016
Visitors here are at home on romantic strolls or guided tours delving into the life of trees – in either case, the gardens around this former 19th-century summer home are undeniably beautiful.
13 November 2014
It's a hidden gem. I went there in the fall and the view of all the colorful trees was breathtaking. If you are around, you have to visit this place.
22 October 2012
One of the most beautiful places in the city limits! A membership is well worth it. Great place to bring a picnic and book and spend the afternoon!
24 February 2014
The official arboretum of the commonwealth, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania offers beautiful gardens and unique attractions, such as the "Out on a Limb" canopy walk in the treetops.
Visit Philly
8 October 2010
In the cold winter months, duck into the charming little Fernery, a period glass greenhouse beloved by Victorians, for a warming glimpse of lush, green growth.
Mike Robertson
6 March 2015
Worth the membership for year round enjoyment. Make sure you go on the "Out on a Limb" tree walk!
Load more comments
Ilya Sharin and 58,365 more people have been here
1-49 Erdenheim St, Philadelphia, PA 19118, USA Get directions
Mon-Sun 10:00 AM–4:00 PM

Morris Arboretum on Foursquare

Morris Arboretum on Facebook

Other languages

Hotels nearby

See all hotels See all
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Philadelphia West Hotel

starting $167

Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Ft. Washington

starting $135

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ft. Washington - Philadelphia

starting $163

Best Western Fort Washington Inn

starting $141

Extended Stay America Philadelphia Plymouth Meeting

starting $89

Burbridge Street B&B

starting $90

Recommended sights nearby

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Elmwood Park Zoo

The Elmwood Park Zoo is a zoo in Norristown, Pennsylvania that houses

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden

Shofuso (Pine Breeze Villa), (Japanese: 松風荘) also known as Japan

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Bradstreet Observatory

Bradstreet Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Fairmount Water Works

The Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Rocky Steps

The 72 front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia,

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Iroquois (di Suvero)

Iroquois is a sculpture by American artist Mark di Suvero, owned by

Similar tourist attractions

See all See all
Add to wishlist
I've been here
Queen Elizabeth Park, British Columbia

Queen Elizabeth Park is a municipal park located in Vancouver, British

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

The Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is a park in South Belfast,

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Osaka Castle Park

Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園, Osaka-Jō-Kōen) is a public urban park and hi

Add to wishlist
I've been here
National Garden of Athens

The National Garden (formerly the Royal Garden) (Greek: Εθνικός Κήπος)

Add to wishlist
I've been here
Orange Garden, Rome

The Orange Garden (italiano. Giardino degli Aranci) is the name used

See all similar places