The Landscape and Living Collection

Green-Wood has the best of both worlds—a dynamic natural landscape right in the heart of urban New York. As an accredited Level III arboretum, it boasts an impressive collection of trees that, along with other resources, provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Green-Wood’s unique topography was carved by the Laurentide Ice Sheet over 18,000 years ago and features two glacial ponds, steep slopes, and narrow valleys. It also contains the highest natural point in Brooklyn at 216 feet above sea level. 

The Living Collection contains about 8,000 living specimens that are comprised of 695 species and hybrids (including cultivars), representing 61 taxonomic families and 159 different genera. One of Green-Wood’s trees is the oldest and largest of its species (a state champion sassafras) in New York State. Other exemplary trees in the collection are the Cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), Red oak (Quercus rubra), Tulip (Liriodendron tulipifera), Black oak (Quercus velutina), European beech (Fagus sylvatica), Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), and Himalayan pine (Pinus wallichiana). With its wide variety of endemic and non-native species and high percentage of mature and old growth trees, Green-Wood’s Living Collection has few rivals in the region. 

Green-Wood is also home to a wide variety of avifauna, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, and insects that catch the attention of the naturalist communities. Located along the Atlantic flyway, Green-Wood is a favorite way station for billions of migratory birds every spring and fall attracting birdwatchers throughout the city. To document this diversity, Green-Wood commissioned Applied Ecological Services in 2016 to conduct a two-year survey of its wildlife and ecological conditions. The baseline data on Green-Wood’s wildlife now informs how Green-Wood manages its landscape, designs new development, and supports the site’s wildlife.  

To inquire about Green-Wood’s initiatives in the natural environment, email horticulture@green-wood.com.