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The Chicago Botanic Garden has a very broad collection of plants, including 2.4 million plants encompassing 9,084 different taxa (kinds of plants). The Garden has selected 17 genera of plants
that it will specialize in. These specialized collections will become collections of distinction, recognized nationally and internationally.
These genera were chosen because they provide an opportunity to address research issues; the Garden is already strong in these plants; there is sufficient curatorial support to acquire, develop, study, and disseminate information on these groups; they are adapted to the growing conditions of the Midwest; they are aesthetic; and they are relevant to the Garden's visitors and consumers.
Three of these Chicago Botanic Garden specialized collections have been accepted as collections of the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC): geranium, oak, and spirea. The NAPCC works with North American public gardens to preserve taxa of plants in living collections through a network of public gardens. It also works to improve curatorial practices.
The Garden's Specialized Collections are as follows: