1/2013 - Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the largest and oldest botanical garden in the state of Arizona. It is one of the oldest botanical institutions west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1924 as a desert plant research facility and “living museum”, the Arboretum is located in the Sonoran Desert on 392 acres on U.S. Highway 60, an hour’s drive east from Phoenix.
The Arboretum has a looping 1.5-mile primary trail that leads visitors through various exhibits and natural areas. The exhibits include a cactus garden, palm and eucalyptus groves, an Australian exhibit, South American exhibit, aloe garden and an herb garden. Over 2600 species of arid land plants from around the world grow at the Arboretum. Agaves, aloes, boojum trees, cork oaks, jujube trees, legume trees, and, in the Eucalyptus grove, one of the largest red gum Eucalyptus trees (“Mr. Big”) in the United States.
Cacti and succulents grow extensively throughout the Arboretum. Because the BTA is a riparian zone, the park attracts Sonoran Desert wildlife and migrating birds. Visitors have seen bobcats, javelinas, coatimundis, rattlesnakes, gila monsters, hawks, hummingbirds, and vultures. 270 bird species have been spotted in the park and the Audubon Society has designated the Arboretum as an Important Bird Area.