Since John Duncan devised a plan for Hoyt Arboretum in 1930, there have been some changes in the botanical world. Continuing plant exploration, especially in China, has unearthed more plant families and species that can be grown in our Northwest climate. DNA analysis and continuing basic botanical research has led scientists to move some species into different genera and families. Horticultural experimentation and climate changes have revealed that species previously deemed unhardy could in fact survive in our climate.
While the Duncan Plan remains the foundation for the arboretum’s collections, the planting plan was updated in 2002 by the “Family Plan”. As new plantings are made and old plantings replaced, the updated Family Plan guides the selection and placement of all new trees and plants. Behind the scenes, a Collections Policy mandates that all new plantings have pedigree, meaning that they be grown from seeds collected in the wild with documentation as to where the seeds originated.
Exceptions are occasionally made for highly unusual specimens that are either cultivars (cultivated from rare and interesting mutations) related to the true species already part of the collection or for mature specimens of trees if there may be years or decades to wait until seedlings propagated from seeds collected in the wild become available.