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What you can learn from our plant labels. 

Just as art museums maintain collections of art, Cornell Botanic Gardens maintains collections of plants. When we add a new plant to our collection, we “accession” it. This involves recording vital information about each plant and assigning it a number, which provides a history and identity to each plant. Some of this information is provided on plant labels in our gardens and arboretum. Near smaller plants, look for small gray labels on short stakes in the ground. These labels contain each plant’s common and botanical names and the plant family to which it belongs.

On trees and shrubs, you’ll find a silver tag hanging along the main trunk or from a branch.  Each tag contains:

  • Botanical name  (genus, species)  
  • Native region, nursery or other source of plant 
  • Plant family 
  • Common name 
  • Accession number    

Robison Herb Garden: A Library of Herbs 

It is easy to spend your entire visit to Cornell Botanic Gardens in the herb garden, which features over 500 varieties of herbs, or plants closely connected with people. The herbs are uniquely arranged into theme beds, including Fragrant Herbs, Medicinal Herbs, Culinary Herbs, and Herbs of Native Americans.  

Not only do the labels for each plant include its common and scientific name, but they include a description of how it is used. You will need to return many times to fully explore this encyclopedic garden. 

Explore stories of plants cherished by cultures worldwide 

Many cultures and religions have expressed, through art, literature, and ceremony their fascination with flowers’ real and symbolic power. Flowers convey our emotions when words fail to express, and accompany us through life’s major rites of passage. The Young Flower Garden showcases many flowering plants that have been cherished by cultures around the world throughout history.

Outdoor books nestled among the flowers of this garden share the sentiments and stories behind of selected plants when they are in bloom. Like the flowers, the books change throughout the season. Visit often to explore them all.