The heart of any arboretum or botanic garden is its plant collections.
Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest’s collection focuses on woody and herbaceous plants that tolerate our challenging clay soil and long, cold winters. The oak tree (Quercus spp.) is a natural for these conditions and as a result we have numerous oaks in our collection. Our Northwest Indiana native oaks as well as interesting hybrids can be seen in the gardens and wooded areas of the arboretum.
For insight into the wide range of oak species and hybrids from around the world, visit the Oak Islands exhibit, which showcases more than 40 different oak species native to Europe, Asia and North America. These trees are planted in “islands” along with companion plantings. Each of the three areas contain trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that form plant communities that closely replicate the natural environments from which the oaks originate.
Gabis Arboretum’s logo tree is a majestic bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) located in the prairie south of the Railway Garden. This magnificent specimen and its cohort nearby have been standing here for more than 200 years. The original native landscape around the tree was converted to crop land in the 19th century and farmed until the end of 1997. In 1998 the prairie now surrounding this tree was planted. Since that time the oak’s offspring have grown to create a bur oak grove around the majestic tree and will one day supplant it when its days are over.