The Arboretum of Kámon

The new image of the Garden

During 2010-2011, the Arboretum was entirely reconstructed through two EU-financed projects. As a result, a magnificent view of the garden unfolds before the visitors. The number of plants had been extended with about 21 000 new species, so the number of taxons are already over 3 000. The country’s biggest pine and rhododendron and azalea collection can be found here. Moreover, a broadleaved and pine collection from the varieties of Hungarian tree breeders can be seen. The new attraction of the Arboretum is the dendro color rock garden reflecting in the lake. The areas of older tree species were cleared. In spring, spots of Galanthus and Leucojum vernum covering close to 2 hectares welcome the visitors. The renovated pea gravel paths tempts us to walk, the benches and tables to rest or work. The Music Pavilion was also restored on the shore of the Old-Lake. The educational boards and games along the pathways make the experience complete. New feeders are set up for the birds, and new trash cans for the cleanness of the Arboretum. The garden received a maskot.

Entrance – Visitor Centre

The new entrance of the Arboretum is the Ecotourism Centre in Szent Imre Street. There is the ticket office where you can not only buy your tickets or season tickets but gifts. The centre is entirely barrier-free with 3 washrooms, a conference room for 150 persons, separable conference rooms, locker rooms for men and women and two guest rooms. The gallery displays temporary exhibitions. 


The geographic location of Szombathely is 47°37’ North latitude and 16°37’ East latitude, altitude 216 m. The average annual temperature is 9,9°C, and 16,3°C in the growing season. The average temperature is -0,9°C in January and 19,8°C in June. The average annual rainfall is 642 mm (403 mm in the growing season). The lowest temperature recorded in the winter of 1929 is -29,3°C, the driest year was 1924 with only 429 mm rain, the relative humidity fell to a minimum of 56% in April of 1946.

As the extreme weather is mitigated by the the favourable water management of the soil, the conditions of the arboretum is mainly defined by the proximity of the stream Gyöngyös from the Eastern Alps. Meadow and alluvial soil were formed in the erratically laid alluviums of the once mendearing stream; the Ph is changing.


The first trees in the arboretum were planted by Mihály Sághy (1820-1875). The founder is literally his son, István Saághy (1865-1945) who gaines his doctor’s degree in political sciences from Budapest University. The interest towards plants was inherited from his father, and following his footsteps, the exotic collection was slowly converted into an arboretum by gradually extending the area and the number of plants. He maintained close friendships with the arboretums’ founders in the region, and his work was supported by his dendrologist friends. During his travels, he visited several arboretums overseas, and he kept in touch with them. In the 1890s, the developent of the arboretum began in the 4 ha area between the old lake and Gyöngyös. During his experimentations in 1904-1905, he succeeded in selecting the varieties Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ’Ericoides’ and Picea abies ’Araucarioides’ which have unfortunately been lost. In 1917, as one of the first people in the world, he crossbreeded the American Picea species with the Chinese one which resulted in Picea x saághy, and this was documented by his friend Gyula Gayer. This variety can still be viewed in the arboretum. Saághy’s favourable financial status enabled him to acquire exotic plants from any country of the world. In 1920, the arboretum had already had 244 varieties of pine and 310 broadleaved trees. By 1930, the number of pines had risen to 260, and the broadleaved to 600. In his collection, there were palm trees and other plants with exotic fruits which wintered in the greenhouses. From his actual work experience, he wrote articles. Meanwhile, his fortune was decreasing, so he established a commercial tree nursery which was acknowledged around Europe. Despite all these, his financial means were exhausted. At the end of 1930s, he attempted to sell the arboretum to the country but it failed.

During the war, about 2/3 of the garden was destroyed. Enormous areas became weedy, elsewhere the soldiers cut the trees. Moreover, in the lean years after the war, the community collected the firewood from here. In 1946, the Forest Stewardship of Szombathely was relocated to Kámon. As the first task, with the leadership of István Bánó, the remaining plant population was defined, and they began to resupply. In the nursery of the forestry, the exotic plants were given some seed beds next to forest species. The laborers of the garden carried out the restoration in the park. In 1948-1949, two new greenhouses were built thanks to the social work enabling the breeding of the more sensitive species. In 1952, the National Nature Conservation Council declared the arboretum protected including the later attached areas. Since 1953, FRI maintains the arboretum. The Head stayed Bánó István who was working as an employee of FRI from that year. Thanks to keeping touch with the national and international arboretums and botanic gardens, the acquisition of missing and other special and peculiar species was enabled. The nationally acknowledged pine plantage was established in this period. The role of the arboretum in research activities strengthened in the 1950s. The foresters became interested in the possibilities of using exotic trees, therefore they started experimenting. Species for naturalisation underwent a 3-stage experiment. Species passing all the three stages entered into forestry practice. The breeding of species which proved to be suitable went beyond the naturalisation as their aim was higher yield and faster growth. The Kámoni Arboretum was at the forefront regarding this activity, especially in the breeding of forest pines.

They collected propagation from the particularly good quality population and species from extreme sites. These were planted at one place, and from there, they selected the best ones. Then plantages were esablished where high quality propagation were produced. Meanwhile, the number of species in the arboretum was gradually increasing. Their goal for the yeas 1970 was to extend the population to 3000 woody species. In 1957, the Dendrology Museum was founded. Until 1958, the garden was not public. Only the forest and gardening schools, the secondary and elementary schools organised field trips. Later, only in the opening hours and with the understanding the rules, people could visit the arboretum. István Bánó was the Head of the Arboretum until 1975. During his work, the arboretum was extended from 4 ha to 20 ha.

Later the arboretum and the management of experiments was taken over by Csaba Mátyás, the current Head of the Arboretum is Gábor Németh.

The experiments of breeding pines had been terminated; however, the clone collection preserves the results of the past researches.


  • Vértesi P.-né—Mátyás Cs. (1985): Saághy István és a Kámoni Arborétum története. In Vasi Életrajzi Bibliográfiák XVI., ERTI Kámoni Arborétuma, Szombathely
    Bánó I.—Retkes J. (1965): A Kámoni Arborétum, Mezőgazdasági Kiadó, Budapest

The website of the arboretum:

Opening hours

April 16 - September 30. 09.00 - 19.00
October 1 - April 15. 09.00 – until it gets dark

Tickets and admission fees 2017


Kámoni Arborétum és Ökoturisztikai Látogatóközpont
9700 Szombathely, Szent Imre herceg útja 84/B.
+36 (94) 500-343
+36 30 863-6013


Gábor Péter Németh

Zsuzsa Szendi



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