Nationally Accredited Plant Collection

Polly’s initial fascination with stewartias—the handsome bark, the pristine flowers, stunning fall color—led her to seek out and grow as many species as possible. She planted seeds and patiently waited decades to see the first breathtaking flowers. Today the Nationally-Accredited-Plant-Collection-LogoPHA’s Stewartia collection numbers over 70 trees representing 21 taxa including nine unique cultivars selected and named by Polly.

As a result of Polly’s initial efforts and our ongoing efforts to grow, study, conserve, understand and promote these remarkable trees the Arboretum’s Stewartia collection is a nationally recognized collection. PHA earned accreditation for its Stewartia collection in 2005 through the Plant Collections Network (at that time known as the North American Plant Collections Consortium), a long-term collaboration between the American Public Gardens Association and the USDA–Agricultural Research Service.

The accreditation process involved submitting a detailed application followed by an intensive onsite review of all facets of the Stewartia collection including the Arboretum’s curatorial practices.   The letter notifying PHA of successful accreditation states, “Your organization stands among a prestigious group of gardens and arboreta that have committed themselves to the conservation and care of specific plant collections curated at the highest professional level. Participation in the consortium means that you are willing to make your collection available for increased distribution and research, and that you promote public awareness of conservation issues.”

Holding a Nationally Accredited Plant Collection™ is added recognition of the Arboretum’s long-term commitment to plant collections preservation, and to achieving a high standard of excellence in plant collections management.  This also positions the PHA for future collaborative research projects among scholars and professional horticulturists interested in this valuable group of small flowering trees.

Click here to learn more about other Nationally Accredited Plant Collections™ from the Plant Collections Network.