Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum Caring for nature, enriching life...

The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA) is 720 combined acres of gardens, trails, woods, and prairie. The Gardens are located at 1800 N. Dixboro Road. The Arboretum is located at 1610 Washington Heights. MBGNA is owned by the University of Michigan. Its mission is to promote environmental enjoyment, stewardship, and sustainability through education, research, and interaction with the natural world. Free admission to Matthaei and Nichols. Both properties open daily. Trails at Matthaei Botanical Gardens open daily sunrise to sunset; display gardens, gift shop, and conservatory 10 am - 4:30 pm; summer hours (mid-May through Labor Day): display gardens, gift shop, and conservatory open 10 am-8 pm daily. Nichols Arboretum open daily sunrise to sunset. Two surface parking lots at Matthaei Botanical Garden; $1.40 per hour parking (maximum $5.00 per day). Pay at central kiosk with cash or credit card. Members park for free. Metered street parking available on a limited basis at Nichols Arboretum. Also free University of Michigan lots on Washington Hts. after 5 pm weekdays and all day Sat. & Sun.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo
06/24/2019

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo

Blooming now in the Great Lakes Gardens at Matthaei Botanical Gardens: a native grasspink orchid (Calopogon). This orchi...
06/21/2019

Blooming now in the Great Lakes Gardens at Matthaei Botanical Gardens: a native grasspink orchid (Calopogon). This orchid is native to eastern and central North America, where it's found in sunny wetland habitats. The Great Lakes Gardens recreates the unique habitats of the region and the plants found on those habitats. Check it out!

06/20/2019

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg
Q: Are turtles really super slow?
A: Watch out hare, this little guy is catching up! Well, to be specific, this is actually a turtle (painted turtle), not a tortoise. The difference between the two is the tortoise spends all its time on land, while the turtle fluctuates between land and water. Turtles are not quite as slow as they are shown in cartoons, but this painted turtle is certainly not going to outrun us anytime soon - he doesn’t have to! Turtles have sturdy shells that keep them safe from faster predators. Come race against some turtles this weekend at Matthaei!
#matthaeibotanicalgardens #umichnature

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg Q: “Why doesn’t the pencil tree have spikes?”A: Great question! While most of the plants you...
06/19/2019

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg
Q: “Why doesn’t the pencil tree have spikes?”
A: Great question! While most of the plants you’ll find in Matthaei’s arid house do have spikes, the pencil tree uses a different kind of defense against animals. This poisonous plant secretes a toxic sap that can burn the skin, damage the eyes, and even cause blindness! Eating the pencil tree can yield even worse results like burning of the throat, vomiting, and diarrhea. As cool as it looks, the pencil tree definitely doesn’t like to be messed with, and you can come check it out (ideally just with your eyes) at Matthaei today! #matthaeibotanicalgardens #matthaenichols #umichnature @ Matthaei Botanical Gardens

06/18/2019

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg
Q: “Why is that turtle in the road?!”
A: That’s a snapping turtle, and it is out because it’s mating season! This turtle is likely a female, looking for a place to lay her eggs. Snapping turtles lay their eggs a considerable distance from the water, and it is not uncommon to see them out and about this time of year. If you encounter one, observe but let it be. If you see one in the road and are inspired to save it, Tufts Wildlife Clinic has an excellent article on the subject, the link to which you can copy and paste below.
#matthaeibotanicalgardens #umichnature
Link:
https://wildlife.tufts.edu/found-wildlife/sick-injured-reptile-amphibian/snapping-turtle/

Time for the Invasive of the Week!Dame’s rocket, Hesperis matronalis, is a beautifully deceiving invasive plant. Broug...
06/18/2019

Time for the Invasive of the Week!

Dame’s rocket, Hesperis matronalis, is a beautifully deceiving invasive plant. Brought over from Europe in the 1600s as an ornamental, dame’s rocket is a 2 to 4 foot tall, very hardy plant that thrives in gardens, roadsides, and distrubed areas. The flowers range from white to purple in color blooming in late May through the end of June. The flowers look similar to phlox, Phlox paniculata (non native) and Phlox divaricata (great native alternative for gardens), except dame’s rocket’s flowers have 4 petals while phlox has 5 petals. Dame’s rocket is considered invasive due to its ability to spread easily (even when confined to a garden) and tends to out compete beneficial native plants that are critical resources for bees, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.

Dame’s rocket can be removed by pulling out the plant (be sure to remove the taproot). It is best to place in a plastic bag and disposed with trash. It cannot be composted due to its resilience, in that underdeveloped seeds can still sprout just like its relative- garlic mustard. Dame’s rocket belongs to the mustard family, however unlike garlic mustard, dame’s rocket is completely edible and found to not contain cyanide. Most of the plant is bitter except for the sweet flowers. Instead of tossing it in the trash, maybe experiment with some new recipes.

#matthaienichols #umichnature

Created by: Emily Lilla, Natural Areas Stewardship Technician

Photo credit: Emily Lilla, Natural Areas Stewardship Technician

Sources:
https://www.habitatmatters.org/dames-rocket.html
https://wimastergardener.org/article/dames-rocket-hersperis-matronalis/

If you missed the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden these last couple of weeks it's still gorgeous and there's plenty to se...
06/18/2019

If you missed the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden these last couple of weeks it's still gorgeous and there's plenty to see. Overall the PG is past peak but individual flowers are everywhere to be seen. Thanks to photographer Michele Yanga for the beauty shots! Visit this week as the garden heads into its final performance.

06/17/2019

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg
Q: “Why is that beaver clapping?”
A: Actually, that’s a muskrat, and it’s grooming itself! Muskrats are large rodents and can be distinguished from beavers by their long, thing tail (opposed to a beaver’s flat, wide tail). Muskrats and other rodents display grooming behaviors quite often. Grooming functions to maintain the psychological stasis, comfort, and appearance of the rodent. Muskrats are clumsy on land but fast in water. They are mostly nocturnal, but they do occasionally come out in the late afternoon and right before dusk, so come out to catch a glimpse!
#matthaeibotanicalgardens #umichnature #matthaeinichols

Join us Monday June 17 for our weekly nature play pop-up at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Monday's theme is fairy houses. ...
06/16/2019

Join us Monday June 17 for our weekly nature play pop-up at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Monday's theme is fairy houses. We will have a specially curated supply of fairy house building materials. While building, consider the tiny creatures who might find it a suitable home. Free. Ages 3-7. 10-11:30 pm. 1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor 48105

CANCELLED! Tonight's (6/13) performance of Shakespeare in the Arb has been cancelled due to the weather.
06/13/2019

CANCELLED! Tonight's (6/13) performance of Shakespeare in the Arb has been cancelled due to the weather.

06/13/2019

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg
Q: “How does that plant close itself?”
A: The Mimosa Plant (also called the Sensitive Plant or Shame Plant) has evolved to close its leaves in a possible attempt to protect itself from herbivores, shake off bugs, or reduce water loss due to evaporation. The mechanism responsible for the leaf movement is called a Pulvinus. When mechanical stimulation (touch) is received it is translated into electrical stimulation, causing the flow of ions out of Pulvinus cells and setting off the process of closing the leaves. It takes a lot of energy for this little guy to clam up, so be sure not to over exert it next time you visit Matthaei!
#matthaeinichols #matthaeibotanicalgardens #umichnature

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg Q: “What do I do if I see a snake on the trails?!”A: Take advice from The Beatles, and Let It ...
06/12/2019

Matthaei’s #qotdmbg
Q: “What do I do if I see a snake on the trails?!”
A: Take advice from The Beatles, and Let It Be. Snakes are really cool and absolutely terrified of you! They want to be left alone, so if you see one, observe from afar. They will not bite you unless they are provoked: stay on the trails, wear close-toed shoes, and give them space. Pictured here is a Garter snake, sunning itself in the morning light.
#umichnature #matthaeibotanicalgardens #matthaeinichols @ Matthaei Botanical Gardens

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is in full bloom! The flowers have shaken off yesterday's rain and are looking good. Than...
06/11/2019

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is in full bloom! The flowers have shaken off yesterday's rain and are looking good. Thanks for photographers Lars Miller and Michele Yanga for the pics. See the garden this week!

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo
06/11/2019

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo

Invasive of the week: False woodland poppy!False woodland poppy, Chelidonium majus, also known as Greater celandine is a...
06/10/2019

Invasive of the week: False woodland poppy!

False woodland poppy, Chelidonium majus, also known as Greater celandine is an invasive plant species from Eurasia. It reaches approximately 11 to 31 inches and is spread by ants carrying the seeds. The false woodland poppy can be found in woodlands and many disturbed areas and is considered invasive due to its ability to spread rapidly and outcompete native plants. It has a distinct yellow flower that is in bloom between May and August, which looks very similar to woodland poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum.

In order to remove this plant, simply pull it out, grabbing near the roots to ensure full removal. Be sure to wear gloves, because inside the plant is this orange-yellow sap latex that is a skin irritate used to ward off predators. This plant is not to be consumed, as the whole plant is considered toxic to humans, causing liver and heart problems.

False woodland poppy was reported to be introduced in 1672 to New England as a French remedy for skin diseases. Additionally, the sap is used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat cancer, asthma, warts, indigestion, and more. It was thought to slow growth of cancer cells due to its ability to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis).

#matthaienichols #umichnature

Created by: Emily Lilla, Natural Areas Intern

https://www.verywellhealth.com/greater-celandine-what-you-need-to-know-89432
https://www.eddmaps.org/ipane/ipanespecies/herbs/chelidonium_majus.htm
https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2101000
https://michiganflora.net/species.aspx?id=1885

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden about 80% in bloom this morning. Loads and loads of blossoms. See it today!
06/09/2019

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden about 80% in bloom this morning. Loads and loads of blossoms. See it today!

Lots of other plants blooming at Matthaei-Nichols, like these bonsai azalea happening now (June 8) at Matthaei. These 's...
06/08/2019

Lots of other plants blooming at Matthaei-Nichols, like these bonsai azalea happening now (June 8) at Matthaei. These 'satsuki' azalea, as they're called, bloom with hundreds of flowers on each plant, often with multiple colors on the same plant. In the conservatory, a display of Chinese viewing stones---naturalaly occurring rocks and stones that resemble objects or landscapes. Also today, Saturday, June 8: musician Michael Chikuzen Gould plays the shakuhachi flute at Matthaei. Check it out at Matthaei, 1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor 48105.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo
06/07/2019

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo

The Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is blooming. As of Friday morning it's about 40% in bloom. This weekend should be spe...
06/07/2019

The Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is blooming. As of Friday morning it's about 40% in bloom. This weekend should be spectacular. (See photos.) Speaking of this weekend, we also have azalea bonsai on display at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and Shakespeare in the Arb is on Thurs-Sun June 6-9; 13-16; 20-23. Photographer Michele Yanga sent a pic of Shakespeare actors and audience making their way back through the peony garden at the end of the first performance of the 2019 season.

Celebrating W.E Upjohn's birthday and the peony garden today. Upjohn gave a portion of his collection of peonies to Univ...
06/06/2019

Celebrating W.E Upjohn's birthday and the peony garden today. Upjohn gave a portion of his collection of peonies to Univ Michigan in 1922. The peony garden is almost 100 years old and still blooming!

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo
06/05/2019

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum's cover photo

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is a native plant of Europe that was brought over to North America in the late 1800s...
06/05/2019

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is a native plant of Europe that was brought over to North America in the late 1800s for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is however, invasive in North America due to its tendency to crowd out native species that are beneficial to the ecosystem, and can be found in your lawn, woodlands, and any other partially shady areas. Garlic mustard, even though it's tasty, releases chemicals to prevent growth of plants around it while also containing trace amount of cyanide to prevent being eaten by predators.

Garlic mustard spreads rapidly with the ability to spread thousands of seeds with one plant, so it is essential to simply pull it out of the ground if seen. It has a two year life cycle, and in the second year it flowers and produces seeds. The seeds can stay viable in the soil for up to 10 years, so even if you think you may have eradicated all the garlic mustard, it may still pop up the next year.

#matthaeinichols #umichnature

Created by: Emily Lilla, Nature Academy, Natural Areas Stewardship Intern

PC: Picture 1: David Cappaert, Bugwood.org; Picture 2: Jody Shimp, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Bugwood.org; Picture 3: Richard Gardner, Bugwood.org; Picture 4: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/profile/garlic-mustard
https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/indiana/stories-in-indiana/garlic-mustard/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/nyregion/garlic-mustard-evil-invasive-delicious.html
https://www.invasive.org/browse/subthumb.cfm?sub=3005&start=1

The Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is finally starting to bloom! Nearly every plant has buds that are in the process of ...
06/04/2019

The Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is finally starting to bloom! Nearly every plant has buds that are in the process of opening. Warm weather this week will accelerate the blooming process.

Nature Play Pop-up in the Gaffield Children's Garden at  Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Monday, June 3,  10-11:30 am: Seash...
06/02/2019

Nature Play Pop-up in the Gaffield Children's Garden at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Monday, June 3, 10-11:30 am: Seashell Dig: Use your imagination to pretend you’re on the beach, digging for these beautiful seashells, and wondering about the fantastic creatures who created them. On Monday mornings 10 – 11:30 am and select Sunday afternoons 3-4:30 pm through August, volunteers will lead interactive, exploratory nature play activities in the nature art area of the Gaffield Children’s Garden. No registration. First to arrive, first to play. Kids can join in as spaces open during the pop-ups. Suggested ages 3-7. NOTE: All materials stay on-site unless otherwise specified. Free. 1800 N. Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105.

Still waitin' for those herbaceous peonies. In the meantime, it's all about the tree peonies, which are pretty spectacul...
05/31/2019

Still waitin' for those herbaceous peonies. In the meantime, it's all about the tree peonies, which are pretty spectacular all on their own. Here's a view of the garden from early Friday, May 31, 2019, plus lots of the tree peonies.

So the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is a bit behind this year with the cool rainy spring. Herbaceous peonies are takin...
05/28/2019

So the Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden is a bit behind this year with the cool rainy spring. Herbaceous peonies are taking their time! Still a lot to see: photographer Michele Yanga sent these Tuesday lunchtime photos of tree peonies Leda (pink) and Gauguin (coral). Plus there's lots of azalea action on Laurel Ridge Trail.

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden, May 26, 2019: The sole herbaceous peony blooming on Sunday, May 26 is Roselette. All oth...
05/26/2019

Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden, May 26, 2019: The sole herbaceous peony blooming on Sunday, May 26 is Roselette. All other plants are covered with buds, most of them showing petal color underneath. Crazy weather, cool spring. But still the herbaceous peonies will very likely take off in the next few days. Lots of tree peonies in bloom, including Hyacinthine Dragon Lying in Ink Pool, and Phoenix White. Also, the azaleas and rhododendrons are blooming, including the tropically colored and heavenly scented Klondyke.

As the bloom season for our peony garden approaches, the MBGNA staff, including our 40 new summer interns, met as a grou...
05/22/2019

As the bloom season for our peony garden approaches, the MBGNA staff, including our 40 new summer interns, met as a group at the Nichols Arboretum. Curator David Michener led our staff on an informative tour of the garden, highlighting the history and varieties of the peonies within the garden.

One beautiful paeonia lacticflora has already begun blooming. The largest collection of peonies in North America typically begins blossoming as a whole between Memorial Day and mid-June. Stop by Nichols Arboretum then to experience the garden at its peak!

Blooming redbud frames water rushing by in Fleming Creek at Matthaei. Photo by John Metzler.
05/16/2019

Blooming redbud frames water rushing by in Fleming Creek at Matthaei. Photo by John Metzler.

Peony season is gearing up at Nichols Arboretum. The plants are  knee-high more or less, with a lot of flower buds showi...
05/10/2019

Peony season is gearing up at Nichols Arboretum. The plants are knee-high more or less, with a lot of flower buds showing. Early-blooming Paeonia tenuifolia (fernleaf peony) is starting to open. And the ants are tucking into the feast of sweet sap that flows from the peony buds. Stay tuned for more updates!

DTE Energy volunteered their time this past Friday (Arbor Day) in various garden projects at our site. This volunteer te...
04/29/2019

DTE Energy volunteered their time this past Friday (Arbor Day) in various garden projects at our site. This volunteer team constructed a trellis for children to venture through as they make their way into the Rustic Habitat trail of our Gaffield Children's Garden. Later this spring, we will plant annual vines that will grow on top of it. Thanks volunteers for your efforts!

Amorphophallus gigas carrion flower update...The smell has been done since about last Friday.  Though it is waning, the ...
04/24/2019

Amorphophallus gigas carrion flower update...
The smell has been done since about last Friday. Though it is waning, the inflorescence is still on display in the conservatory. We cut back the spathe of the inflorescence to reveal the individual flowers inside. Note there are hundreds of male flowers and female flowers in zones on the spadix. The male flowers are in the upper zone (just under the brown spadix). And the female flowers are larger and in the lower zone.

Volunteer photographer Michele Yanga captured scenes of spring at Nichols Arboretum on April 22. Spring at last!
04/23/2019

Volunteer photographer Michele Yanga captured scenes of spring at Nichols Arboretum on April 22. Spring at last!

Enjoying the Huron River on a warm early spring day. Photo by Michele Yanga.
04/23/2019

Enjoying the Huron River on a warm early spring day. Photo by Michele Yanga.

Address

1800 N Dixboro Rd
Ann Arbor, MI
48105

Nichols Arboretum: By bus: Nichols Arboretum is served by The Ride (AATA). The 1U, 2, 4, 9U, 12UM, 12UL, 14 all have stops at Mott Hospital on East Medical Center Drive near the Washington Heights entrance of the Arb.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 20:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 20:00
Thursday 10:00 - 20:00
Friday 10:00 - 20:00
Saturday 10:00 - 20:00
Sunday 10:00 - 16:30

Telephone

(734) 647-7600

Website

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