Starhill Forest Arboretum
AboutWelcome to the Starhill Forest Arboretum digital herbarium. Starhill Forest is the arboretum of Illinois College. The 48-acre private garden is located in Menard County, Illinois. Founded in 1976 by Guy and Edie Sternberg, the arboretum has grown to over 2000 accessioned woody plants.
This digital collection documents the quercetum, or oak collection, at Starhill Forest. The collection is one of several members in the North American Plant Collection Consortium’s multi-site Quercus collection. Unlike many digital herbariums that consist of images of dried and pressed specimens, the images of the oaks in this database are of living trees. Each entry has two photos:
1. A photo of fresh foliage with a scale bar against a black background
2. A photo of the entire tree with a two meter scale bar
Reading the details for each treeIn addition to photographs, a select amount of information from our database is listed here for each entry.
At this time, the digital collection only represents oaks, so the genus will always be Quercus.
The species category lists either the species or hybrid name. Hybrids are always preceded by “x”.
The subspecific category lists subspecies and varieties, as well as cultivars. Given typographical limitations of this system, we are not able to denote cultivars with single quotes. In this database, cultivars are capitalized, while varieties and subspecies are not capitalized, in accordance with correct botanical naming.
Many hybrids have been identified in the collection. When the parent species are known, they are identified in this category. In some cases, no hybrid name exists, so the parentage is how the hybrid is identified. If known, the female parent is listed first, otherwise the names are presented alphabetically.
Compartment refers to a grid system that gives a rough estimate to the individual plant. Each compartment is a 220’ square. When the compartment is listed as “Oak Street”, the plant is a potted tropical or sub-tropical greenhouse specimen. “Oak Street” is the summer home of these plants, a bench near our propagation area.
This category is a discrete identifying number given to each tree or shrub planted on the grounds at Starhill Forest. The first four numbers are the year the tree was out-planted into the permanent collection.
The country from where the seed or seedling was initially acquired.
The continent where the species can be found occurring in the wild.
Common names can be confusing, as a plant may go by several common names. We attempt to use the most well-known name in this database. In some cases, there is no common name in English.
When botanical names have changed or been debated since receiving the specimen, the alternative name is listed here.
Simply put: whether the specimen was collected from a wild source or a cultivated garden specimen. Wild source is generally preferred for research purposes.
As we try to grow many species that don’t normally occur in Illinois, casualties occur. This category lists whether the particular specimen is either “living” or “dead”.
Questions about the collection, the arboretum, or this site can be directed to or check out the arboretum’s website.
Guy and Edie Sternberg
Starhill Forest Arboretum
Please visit the Starhill Forest Arboretum website.
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