Begun in 1984, and named in 1998 in honor of former Gardens Director William Louis Culberson (1929-2003), the Asiatic Arboretum covers 15 acres and includes more than 1,300 Asian species and cultivars. Among the collections are deciduous magnolias, Japanese maples, epimediums, daylilies, and tree peonies. Throughout the Asiatic Arboretum are bridges, gates, small shelters, stone lanterns, and stone water basins that complement the plant collections.
The similarity between plants of eastern North America and eastern Asia has intrigued botanists from the time of Linnaeus (1707-1778). It is now recognized that tectonics, climate fluctuations, the appearance and disappearance of land bridges, and other factors have led to the current distributions of northern temperate forests.
Throughout the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, pairs of disjunct species are found. Research in the field of molecular plant science has contributed to progress in understanding the history of these disjunct species. Some known disjunct species include Calycanthus floridus and C. chinensis and a hybrid of the two, C. x raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'
Our collection of waterfowl in the Arboretum pond is always popular with visitors. Among the species we have are Whooper Swans, Canvasback duck, Hooded Merganser, Common Shelduck, and Great Blue Heron.
Exhibits in the Perkins Gallery are sponsored in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation