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Vanderbilt University Arboretum Tree Tours

Listen to a Podcast about the tree tour

These tours are designed to provide access to and information about representative tree species in the Vanderbilt University Arboretum.  The trees on these tours were selected to represent native tree species that are commonly seen in Nashville and the middle Tennessee area.  The tours also include a few commonly planted or naturalized species that are not native to Tennessee as well as a few other botanically interesting species that are present on campus. 

The Peabody tour is shorter and features 46 trees, including many of the most common trees of Middle Tennessee.  The main campus tour requires more walking, but features 63 trees, including many of the species covered in the Peabody tour as well as others that are only found on the main campus.  It is possible to combine both tours if you have a lot of time and energy, and want a chance to review some of the species several times. 

All of the trees on the tour should be labeled and identified as a part of the tour with a blue dot on the label.

Using this website

Obviously most users can't be on the Internet and be walking around the Vanderbilt campus at the same time.  However, the Bioimages web site (of which this tree tour is part) can be downloaded to a hard drive or obtained on CD-ROM.  That would allow the user to access the website on a laptop while taking the tour. 

The lower right frame will outline important features of the species and information about where the species is normally found.  The upper right frame will by default display images of the species.  Clicking on text links in the lower right frame will automatically bring appropriate images into view in the upper right frame.  If you are connected to the Internet, you can view high resolution versions of most of the images by clicking on them. 

Navigation is accomplished by clicking on the "next" and "previous" links in the frame in the lower right corner.  The left frame will display the tree's position on a map.  Trees on the tour are shown as black squares, trees not discussed in the tour are shown as gray dots, and the tree under discussion is shown as a red square.  You can also click on any of the black squares to jump directly to any tree on the tour.  Sometimes using the browser's forward and back buttons produces unpredictable results, so it is better to navigate with the text links.

Paper version of the tree tours


The maps are intended to help you find your way.  They are not intended for any other use and may not be entirely accurate.  In particular, the position of the gray "other trees" are often incorrect. 

Although I have tried to be as careful as possible to present accurate information and correctly identified images, mistakes are possible.  Please confirm your own plant identifications with a technical key or plant taxonomist if accuracy is important. 

Please report any errors or problems to


Dr. Robert Kral taught me most of the trees on this tour in his Dendrology class at Vanderbilt.  He kindled my interest in learning trees.

I depended heavily on Wofford and Chester (2002) Guide to the Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Tennessee (University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN) for range descriptions and some diagnostic characters.  If you can, take the tours with this book in your hand.  I also referred to Chester et al. (1987) The Nut Trees of Land Between The Lakes (The Center for Field Biology of LBL, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN) for oak and hickory characters.  Unfortunately it is out of print at the present. 

Thanks to Judson Newbern for his support and encouragement in this project and to other members of the Vanderbilt Campus Planning staff who gave me access to the VU tree database and helped me get the data to make the maps. 

Created November 2005 by Steven J. Baskauf, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Dept. of Biological Sciences