Q. Can you tell me where to find some of the Great Trees of New York City that are on the NYBG property?


There are many lists of wonderful, old, big, and special trees in New York City.  Some New York Botanical Garden trees are on that list.  Here are a few of them.

Royal Paulownia (Paulownia tomrentosa, commonly called the Princess tree): In May, it's purple flowers stand out as a welcome continuation of the end of winter and arrival of spring.  Because of the seeds are so light and large, it seems Chinese exporters used them as packing material.  Escaped seeds were scattered and now the princess tree can be found growing along highways.  It is considered invasive in many parts of the United States, including south of New York.  Like all NYBG trees, the specimen overlooking the cherry trees between the lilac collection and the Edible Academy was deliberately planted and cared for as a unique specimen.

Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata, if you are facing the beaux art Botanical Garden building that houses the Mertz Library, which is to the right of the bottom of the tulip tree allee.

Other noteworthy trees:

Considered extinct 23 million years ago, the discovery of dawn redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostoboides) in China in 1941 was very exciting.  Seeds were sent to NYBG and were planted in 1950.  The resulting grove of now mature trees, located in the Benenson Ornamental Conifers collection, are now over one hundred feet tall.

The grove of four Tanyosho pines (Pinus densiflora ‘Umbraculiferas’) near the reflecting pool beyond the Conservatory Gate at NYBG, were planted in 1908.  The fallen decaying needles match the intense rusty orange-red bark color and are in stunning contrast with the green needles.  The limbs have intertwined with each other and so the flat top of all four seem to cover a brown/red "room".

Snake Branch Spruce (Picea abies 'Virgata') in the Benenson Ornamental Conifer Garden

European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata') on a triangle of land located between the tulip tree allee, the rock garden and the native plant garden.

River Birch (Betula nigra) reached by stopping on Magnolia Way and moving away from the magnolias through the oaks to the very edge of the NYBG grounds.


The NYBG blog where some of the horticultural staff was asked to talk about their favorite trees at the Garden.

Great trees of New York City

Swett, Benjamin. Trees of New York City. New York: Countryman, A Division of W.W. Norton, 2017. Print.

A book specifically about trees at NYBG:
Lederman, Larry; Forrest, Todd A.. Magnificent Trees of the New York Botanical Garden. New York: The Monacelli Press, 2012. Print.
  • Last Updated Jul 19, 2018
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