- The entire Vanderbilt campus is designated as an arboretum. In 2013 the
campus contained 6181 identified and geolocated trees
and shrubs. Each year 150 to 200 new trees are planted to replace trees that die or as landscaping for
- There are approximately
190 species of trees and shrubs in the arboretum.
- The oldest and most famous tree on campus is the Bicentennial Oak
- There is a four-way tie for largest tree in the arboretum.
- Vanderbilt was first referred to as an arboretum in May 1879, only six years
after the university was founded ("Catalogue of the Species and Varieties of
Plants in the Vanderbilt Arboretum", Vanderbilt University Archives).
- The most common tree species on campus is Magnolia grandiflora
(southern magnolia) with 545 representatives.
The two hackberry (Celtis) species
on campus commonly hybridize in the Nashville area, making it virtually
impossible to identify them to species. The total number of northern
hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), sugarberry (Celtis laevigata),
and unidentified hackberries (Celtis spp.) is 500, making "hackberry"
the second most common recognizable tree on campus. Acer saccharum (sugar
maple) takes third place with 488.
- The symbol of Vanderbilt is the white oak tree (Quercus alba).
However there are only 53 white oak trees on campus, putting it in third place
among the oaks at Vanderbilt (after 178 willow oaks - Quercus phellos
and 88 pin oaks - Quercus palustris). There are a total of 16 species
of oaks (Quercus) present on campus - the most well-represented genus
in the arboretum.
Legend: The arboretum contains every species of tree in Tennessee.
Not true. There are a number of native species not represented, such as Crataegus harbisonii
, Aralia spinosa
Legend: Somebody gave a million dollars to label the trees
Not true. This legend originates from incorrect information in a
1987 Vanderbilt Register article
which was subsequently corrected in Vanderbilt Register vol. VII no. 40 p.2 (July 10, 1987).
The actual amount given in 1968 was $15,000 into an endowment to honor James Mapheus Smith. For more information, see
the history of the arboretum
Legend: In order to be an arboretum, Vanderbilt has to ...
There are actually no particular requirements to be called an arboretum. However, in 1988 the campus was
registered with the American Public Gardens Association
(APGA) as an arboretum.
Legend: The arboretum contains seven
Tennessee state champion trees.
In 1994, the arboretum did have seven champion trees, and this was recorded in
The Trees of Vanderbilt, p.7
. However, since that time at
least four have died and two have been dethroned by larger trees elsewhere. One champion tree, a
Legend: There is a haunted graveyard somewhere on campus.
There actually are several graves on campus. Bishop McTyeire
an important figure in the
of the university, had the graves of several important local bishops
moved to campus soon after the university started. Landon C. Garland
the university's first chancellor was buried at the same site. McTyeire himself is also buried there; in Chancellor Kirkland's
inagural address in 1893 he noted "under the shade of magnolias that his own hand planted, he sleepeth well". Those magnolia trees
today next to the stone monument that marks the burial site.