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Prairie de la zone américaine fin mai © MNHN - Jérôme Munier

A trip around the world

The trees at Versailles-Chèvreloup Arboretum are species originating in temperate regions which are resistant outdoors to the Parisian climate. Hence they all come from temperate or cold zones around the globe.

A few figures

The Arboretum collections in a few figures:

  • 2,500 tree species;
  • 8,000 greenhouse plants.


The planting plan distributes them according to their geographical origins, their botanical families and their horticultural origins. 

Vue de l'arboretum de Chèvreloup © MNHN - S. Gerbault
Vue de l'arboretum de Chèvreloup © MNHN - S. Gerbault

The geographical area, the widest with 120 ha, was defined in 1965. It groups the trees by continent (Europe: 250 species – Asia: 960 species – America: 700 species) and by region on each continent. Africa, South America and Oceania are represented only by a few rare mountain or southernmost latitude species.

The systematic area that assembles trees by botanical affinity is the result of the first plantings made between 1924 and 1935. This phase also left magnificent rows of plane trees, American black walnut trees and Atlas cedars. It covers 50 hectares.  
An area known as “horticultural”, at the centre of the site, assembles 30 hectares of tree cultivars, or varieties selected by humans for their ornamental potential or their strangeness.  

Vue de l'Arboretum de Chèvreloup (allée de Ptérocaryers du Caucase) © MNHN - S. Gerbault

Species not to be missed

Genera distributed over the American, European and Asian continents best represented at Chèvreloup:


36 species represented out of 50 documented in nature.
Their leaves are all very similar and their flowers often delicately scented and very melliferous.


76 species represented out of 150 documented in nature.
If the leaf of the Canadian maple is well known, those of maples with compound leaves are much less so, including the lobed leaves of small maples with remarkable jasper-green or red-grained barks.


52 species represented out of 450 documented in nature.
You will find primarily American oaks at the Arboretum.


40 species represented out of 50 documented in nature.
Often confused with fir trees, they have hanging cones.

Fir trees

41 species represented out of 51 documented in nature.
They are among the largest trees in temperate zones, some reaching 60 m. Their cones are always erect and they break apart to liberate the seeds.   


77 species represented out of 111 documented in nature.
Many of them are known as pioneer species that accommodate themselves to difficult soils (sandy, rocky, humid....) and even to a little pollution on the roadside. Some of the finest examples in the collection are the very rare conifers Picea aurantiaca (certainly extinct in China); Cupressus dupreziana from the Tassili plateau in Algeria, where only a few specimens remain; Quercus hinckleyi from Texas with a population of 200 individuals; and Alangium platanifolium from China.

Collections de rhododendrons © MNHN - S. Gerbault
L'arboretum sous la neige © MNHN - S. Gerbault