The entire Garden could be called an arboretum - a display of trees - but the area traditionally referred to as the Arboretum comprises the former grounds of Inverleith House, in the south west of the Garden. Many of the trees in this area were initially planted to teach forestry students and are grouped by botanical families. Along the western boundary is RBGE's 'Pinetum', with many of the Garden's conifers. It represents many centuries of exploration as well as current conservation importance.
Heading south, there are poplars, including balsam poplars with strongly-scented leaves in the spring; maples, renowned for their blazing autumnal colour; and members of the rose family Rosaceae, which includes cherries and apricots, hawthorns and rowans.
Some have been collected from expeditions across the globe, others are more local heroes - the maple Acer pseudoplatanus 'Corstorphinenese' was found on Edinburgh's Corstorphine Hill and can only be told apart from the other species by the bright lime-yellow of its spring foliage.
Further south still are alders, hazels and the birch lawn, where a collection of birches from around the world delight with the shimmering green of new growth in spring and the varying colours of their gleaming bark.
Other garden features include....
- Chinese Hillside
- Ecological & Cryptogamic Garden
- Glasshouse Borders
- Herbaceous Border
- Peat Walls
- Queen Mother's Memorial Garden
- Rock Garden
- Scottish Heath Garden
- Woodland Garden