Research at Adkins Arboretum

Our Research

Native orchids

Although many people are familiar with the tropical orchids grown indoors and used in flower arrangements and corsages, not so many realize that native orchids thrive in neighboring bogs and woodlands. There are several species of native orchids at the Arboretum. Three of these can be observed along the Arboretum paths: the cranefly orchid, Tipularia discolor, the downy rattlesnake plantain, Goodyera pubescens, and the pink lady's slipper, Cypripedium acaule.

Arboretum staff and volunteers monitor populations of pink lady's slipper orchid for the number of plants, flowering, and seed set. This orchid has beautiful pink flowers in spring, but often fails to set seed due to poor pollination. Orchids appear to flower more readily when there is more light. To promote flowering, staff trims trees around the orchid populations.

Meadow restoration

Nancy's Meadow is being overtaken by a native vine, trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage is working with the Arboretum to control trumpet creeper and other woody plants and will plant sections of the meadow with different mixes of grasses and native wildflowers in the spring. The planting mixes and maintenance techniques are monitored to determine which is most successful.

Our Research

Eastern bluebird research

The Arboretum has maintained a bluebird trail of 23 boxes for several years. The Arboretum's meadows provide ideal nesting habitat for bluebirds.