Plants in this collection occur east of the Mississippi, from the Canadian provinces through the Gulf states. They represent mixed coniferous-deciduous forest communities, meadows and prairies.
Eastern forest communities vary in composition according to year round rainfall patterns, topography and soil. Some of the prominent canopy trees represented here are birch (Betula), oak (Quercus), maple (Acer), tulip tree (Liriodendron) and sweet gum (Liquidambar).
Before trees leaf out in the spring, many understory species take advantage of high light levels reaching the forest floor. These spectacular floral displays include carpets of Trillium, Erythronium and Tiarella. Shrubs such as Rhododendron, witch hazel (Hamamelis) and mountain laurel (Kalmia) also flower at this time.