2016 - Photography

The University of Arizona Campus Arboretum provides a comprehensive collection of resources on plant research, identification and outreach. With almost 125 years of landscapes dedicated to testing and selecting plants for our arid changing desert climate, the campus grounds houses more than 12,000 woody plants from all over the world. In an effort to make information about these plants easily accessible to the public, the UA Campus Arboretum provides written and illustrated descriptions online for the growing number of plants on campus.


Matthew Buster, B.S. Sustainable Plant Systems, Minoring in Photography (Class of 2017), is the latest talented undergraduate dedicated effort to capturing plant collection in pictures. As a Campus Arboretum photography intern, Buster has a passion for capturing picture-perfect botanical characteristics of each plant specimen, photos which are not only artistically appealing but which accurately reflect the botanical characteristics useful in confirming identity. He said he aims to provide photos that elevate the perception and status of plants and promote easier identification. Earlier, Sequoia Fischer, B.S. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and B.A., Three Dimensional Studio Art (Class of 2017), captured more than 1700 exceptional images and established a system for naming and organizing our expansive photographic archive. Dan Stein, B.S. Plant Sciences and B.S. Biosystems Engineering (Class of 2015) initiated the effort to collect complete sets of botanical images for each species in the collection.

Currently, we aim to have each species in the collection fully described and also accompanied by a series of images showing botanical characteristics like leaf shape, bark texture, flower, fruit and habit. Together these images serve as a visual description of a plant's characteristics, useful for identification and research.


As a living laboratory, the UA Campus Arboretum collection is always evolving. The photography project captures the diversity of plants in the collection showing native desert dwellers, arid adapted exotic plants and plants that have come and gone as the environment has changed.  Many species still lack photos on their web pages and are a priority for photo documentation. In recent months, we’ve added hundreds of new photos representing 60 plant species.


Next time you want to identify an unknown plant, let the UA Campus Arboretum help. You can access these descriptions and photographs on the Campus Arboretum website using the ‘find trees’ tool on the search tab at http://arboretum.arizona.edu . The photographs are combined with a written description, accession numbers, and links to a map of tree locations.


Click the here for an example!

August, 2016