Special Plant Collections
The Eucalypt Collection contains over 800 specimens representing more than 340 species and subspecies. Most of these have been grown from seed collected in the wild. There are also some unique hybrids which originated at the Waite Institute.
'Urrbrae Gem' was a chance seedling discovered at the Waite Arboretum in 1956. The female parent is Eucalyptus erythronema and the male parent is thought to be Eucalyptus stricklandii. The tree is very ornamental with an attractive grey trunk and showy red blossoms. Research has been undertaken at the University of Adelaide to tissue culture this hybrid.
Among the 90 ornamental pear trees in the Waite Arboretum there are several species which are well suited to the Mediterranean climate of Adelaide. Pyrus calleryana cultivars show considerable promise as street trees and several selections and hybrids have been made at the Waite Arboretum. The row of callery pears in the rose garden of the adjacent Urrbrae House Historic Precinct are a breathtaking sight in spring. They were budded from a selection in the Arboretum.
Two species of Pears Pyrus tadshikistanica and Pyrus korshinskyi are on the IUCN Red List as endangered in the wild.
Waite Arboretum has a fine collection of 65 species of oaks. Many of these species come from California, Texas or the Mediterranean region, so are well suited to our climate. Some species are evergreen, others are deciduous with attractive autumn foliage. The cork oak Quercus suber, native to southern Europe and northern Africa, is a most handsome evergreen oak with fissured corky bark.
The Acacia Collection features 80 specimens representing 45 species. Acacias of special interest are the rare Australia native waddy Acacia peuce. In winter the beautiful Mt Morgan wattle has a profusion of bright yellow blossoms against soft blue-grey foliage. Golden Wattte Acacia pycnatha and Roundleaf Wattle Acacia acinacea are native to the site.
Palm and Cycad Collection
Part of the Palm Collection
The Arboretum has two main palm collections. The first collection was established in 1928 and features a handsome Chilean wine palm Jubea chilensis, several jelly palms Butia capitata and many other species of interest. The second collection was established along the watercourse in 1994 with donations from the Palm & Cycad Society (S.A.) and is interspersed with cyads. Altogether there are more than 280 palms from 33 genera and more than 100 cycads from seven genera.