The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
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Sam Graham Trees

Sam Graham Trees Trail at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Click the image above to view more photos.

The Sam Graham Trees is a special collection of major trees native to the state of Michigan. These trees are in their natural ecosystems, in restored versions of native ecosystems, or in groupings that simulate how these trees are typically found in the wild.

This unique trail winds through several different types of habitat. Beginning in the wetlands, you'll walk through floodplain forest and along a tamarack swamp. The Helen V. Smith Woodland Wildflower Garden links the lower wetlands to the higher, drier ecosystems. In the uplands you will find oak woodland, oak savanna, and a pine-aspen loop.

Future extensions of the trail will feature trees from moist woodlands, such as sugar maple, basswood and beech.

"We must get away from the old conception of a forest as merely a collection of trees, under the shelter of which live certain birds and beasts. Instead, we must look upon it as an organism composed of many elements." –Sam Graham, 1929, Ecology 10: 247

Ecological relationships fascinated Dr. Samuel A. Graham (1891-1967), a highly respected ecologist and entomologist. For 34 years he taught insect ecology and forestry at the University of Michigan. Many consider him to be a pioneer of North American insect ecology. Sam Graham was among the first to argue that everything, from aspen trees to pine weevils, fulfills a specific role in the forest as a whole.

Thanks to the Graham family's support, which has allowed us to feature Michigan trees and ecosystems and has also provided in part for the creation of University student internships.

To learn more about Sam Graham Trees click on the following links:

Sam Graham Trees for Kids!
If you're up for the challenge, click on these links:

  • Sam Graham Trail Map
    Are you ready to explore a floodplain, a bog and savannas? Can you find all 22 native trees marked on the Sam Graham Trail?
  • Sam Graham Trees Leaf-rubbing Booklet
    Kids can explore the Sam Graham Trees Trail with this fun booklet. Bring a crayon and these pages with you. The trail will take you on a journey through woodland, savanna, floodplain and bog. Along the way you will discover fun facts about Michigan trees and where they grow.

The Sam Graham Trees is at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens site.

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