The U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C., which serves as the nation’s research facility for trees, plants and shrubs, has gifted a variety of endangered plants to Scissortail Park for cultivation. In keeping with the Park mission to display native plants and trees, the gift represents genetic plant types that thrive in a harsh climate like that found in Oklahoma.

Varieties include plants that are rare in their endemic habitat like oak trees, viburnums, and hollies. The plants and shrubs are currently in the Park tree nursery and will be cared for until they can be planted this fall.

“One of our goals for the scissortail horticulture department is to not only educate the public about the science of plants, particularly those that are native to our area, but also to protect and conserve them as well,” said Lance Swearengin, director of horticulture and grounds at Scissortail Park. “This makes the gift from the plant and seed distribution program of the National Arboretum especially meaningful.”

The plants are currently at the Park where they are being protected until they are of suitable size to be planted throughout the grounds. Ultimately, Swearengin said the Park will apply to become an accredited arboretum for its living collection of woody plants.

“With Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City will have a botanical garden which is dedicated to the collection and cultivation of a wide range of plants, and an arboretum that does the same for trees and shrubs, practically next to each other,” he said. “Having an accredited arboretum and botanical garden downtown is an exciting development for our city.”

To learn more about the Park, or to volunteer to help the horticulture department, go to

The new Scissortail Park is in the heart of a revitalized downtown Oklahoma City. This public space is part of the MAPS 3 program that envisions a healthy and vibrant quality of life for our city while serving as an investment in the future. The Park features a variety of engaging experiences within 70 urban acres ranging from ornamental gardens and woodlands, to a lake and boathouse, children’s playground, grand promenade, water features, outdoor roller rink, an enclosed dog park, interactive fountain and much more.

Designed by one of the foremost landscape architecture planning firms in the world, Hargreaves Associates, the Park is also a horticultural tapestry of native prairie grasses, lush flower gardens and tree-lined walkways. Together we have created something spectacular. For everyone.