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Draves Arboretum started out as a small plant collection by a third generation arborist after desiring better plant identification materials than was available in the northeast. As the collection enlarged via contributions and selections from a well-connected web of nurserymen and plant propagaters, it has obtained plants of pure origin that are seldom seen anywhere else in the United States. For example it harbors Rhododendron mucronulatum grown from seed collected in Korea, a new species of Hamamelis ovalis only recently was identified and cultivated, and the first cuttings of the newly discovered Parotia subaequalis from China. In addition, the arboretum has produced its own unique introductions such as the Streetkeeper Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos 'draves') among others.
The arboretum has developed into an extensive collection of unique and trees and shrubs and is well known and available to fellow arborists, horticulturalists and plantsmen as a site to view most any tree or shrub adapted to western New York type climatic zones. It has progressively enlarged and has become a regional learning station for the public and all people in the green industry. Draves Arboretum is also a valuable tool for clients to see first-hand what the plants would look like in their landscapes.