Ilanot Arboretum - Forest, Arboretum and Visitor Center

Eucalyptus Macrocarpa. Photo: Yaakov Shkolnik, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Nestled in the heart of the Sharon lies a very special forest, unlike any other in Israel. 750 tree species living side by side - an incredible variety of trees from all over the world. A visit to the Arboretum is a highly-rewarding experience for nature lovers and an opportunity to meet strange, weird, wonderful trees, some with an amazing exotic appearance. At Ilanot, KKL-JNF operates a visitor center, wholly-dedicated to trees. The center includes the most modern, state-of-the-art technologies available, offering visitors a very unique experience.

  • How to get there

    Ilanot Arboretum straddles Highway 4 (“Old” Haifa-Tel Aviv Road) between Dror Interchange and Hasharon (Beit Lid) Intersection. On the west side - the KKL-JNF Ilanot Arboretum is on the west side of the road. It consists of trees typical of the region’s forests, picnic tables and playground facilities and an accessible parking lot (Ilan Parking Lot). Opening hours - round the clock. Entering Ilanot Arboretum west side: On Highway 4 southbound, follow the signs to turn right. East Side - Botanical Garden Arboretum, Ilanot Arboretum and Visitor Center - is on the east side of Highway 4. It is home to some 350 tree varieties and species from around the world. They are signposted with their names and a QR code that can be scanned for more information about each tree. Entering Ilanot Arboretum and Visitor Center: For those on Highway 4 northbound - follow the signs to turn off the road to the right, into Ilanot. For those on Highway 4 southbound - continue to Hadassim Intersection, make a U-turn and proceed north on Highway 4 until the turnoff to Ilanot.
  • Opening hours

    The botanical garden is open for unguided visits between 8 am and 7 pm during summer daylight saving time and from 8 am to 5 pm in the winter. The restrooms at the arboretum are open between 8 am and 4 pm.
  • Entrance fee

    Entry to the arboretum only is free of charge. No advance reservation necessary.
  • Geographic location-

    Menashe-Sharon region
  • Area-

  • Special Sites in the Area-

    Kadima Forest, Kadima Nature Reserve, Poleg Nature Reserve, Alexander Stream, Hadera Forest.
  • Special attractions-

    Visitor Center, Iris Trail east of the Arboretum, accessible via a signposted trail (flowering is between February 15 and March 15); Maze of Trees; Casuarina Circle.
  • Type of parking-

    Accessible parks,Picnic parks
  • Interest-

    Hiking and Walking Tracks

Accessibility Arrangements

1. There is an accessible parking for four vehicles.
2. There is an accessible road to the visitor center.
3. There are accessible travel trails in the botanical garden.
4. There are picnic tables and accessible benches.
5. There is a leading line to visitors' center entrance and the restrooms.
6. There are accessible restrooms.
7. There are accessible water coolers.
8. The garden contains a SETP HEAR system.
9. Accessible guidance, with mobile hearing system is available - please ask for it during registration.
10. The activity spots at the center are accessible.
11. There are accessible chairs at the center.
12. The forest's staff is available for assistance.
13. Tours can be adjusted for accessibility. Call 04-8974800 or email
Updated: 3.8.2023

Visitor Information

The Ilanot Arboretum consists of three parts: Visitor center, botanical garden (arboretum), and Ilanot Forest. Following is the information on visiting the various parts:

Visit the Ilanot Visitor Center
Activities at the Center are suitable for all ages. Individual and group visits must be arranged in advance.
To arrange a visit and for further information: Phone 09-8974800 and email
Opening hours: Sundays thru Thursdays, 9 am to 3 pm.
Directions: Entry to the Ilanot Forest on the western side of Highway 4: For those on Highway 4 southbound - turn right at the Ilanot sign.

Visiting the Ilanot Arboretum (not including the visitor center)
Days: Daily, including weekends and holidays
Opening hours: Daily between 8 am and 7 pm during summer daylight saving time and from 8 am to 5 pm in the winter.
The restrooms are open daily between 9 am and 4 pm.
For those on Highway 4 northbound - follow the signs to turn off the road to the right, into Ilanot.
For those on Highway 4 southbound - continue to Hadassim Intersection, make a U-turn and proceed north on Highway 4 until the turnoff to Ilanot.
Rules of Conduct in the Arboretum:
- It is forbidden to light fire in the arboretum and in the adjoining picnic area
- Bicycle riding or any other wheeled riding in the arboretum is strictly forbidden
- Dogs welcome on a leash and restrained by their owners. Clean up after your dog

Rules of Conduct in the Botanical Garden:
In the botanical garden, including in the picnic area, it is forbidden to light any fire if any kind, including bonfires, barbecues, gas stoves, camping gas burners etc. The Garden paths and trails are intended for pedestrians only (except for electric scooters serving disabled persons) - it is forbidden to ride bicycles, scooters, electric dune buggies or any other wheeled vehicle. Walking with dogs is permitted provided they are on a leash and restrained by their owners.

Visiting Ilanot Forest
Ilanot Forest, which features various recreational facilities, lies on the opposite side of the Ilanot Arboretum (on the west side of Highway 4). It can be reached from Highway 4 southbound.
On Highway 4 southbound, follow the signs to turn right.

Eucalyptus macrocarpa

About the Forest and Arboretum

Ilanot Arboretum was planted as an arboretum in the 1950’s by the Forestry Research personnel of the Ministry of Agriculture - Israel’s tree climatization garden. The Ministry’s foresters did a wonderful job. They collected over 700 species and varieties of trees from around the world and planted them in the garden in 25 plots according to the geographic regions from which they had been collected. They named the place appropriately - Ilanot, which means Trees.

The arboretum was a hive of activity. The researchers at Ilanot checked the suitability of the tree species in the garden and their potential to serve as forest trees. Ilanot was the center of forestry work in Israel. Important research was conducted here through collecting seeds and pests, and other forestry aspects were studied. The extensive variety of trees in the garden attracted students from the Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot, high-school students, landscape architects and nature lovers from Israel and abroad.

In 1986, the Forestry Research Department was closed down and the work at Ilanot was discontinued. The place was abandoned. Some of the trees died, not being suitable for the climate and soil in the garden. Others withered away for lack of attention. The area became overgrown with weeds and the magnificent garden receded from memory.
The arboretum rejuvenated

In 2013, KKL-JNF took upon itself the task of saving and restoring whatever could be salvaged from the arboretum. The rehabilitation work included careful mapping of the garden and its trees, attending to the existing trees, planting new trees and laying a computerized irrigation system. At the foot of each tree species a sign was installed, introducing the tree’s ID card. A QR code has been included on each sign, which can be scanned with a smartphone to access more interesting information.

KKL-JNF paved 2.5 km of paths in the garden. Benches have been placed beside the paths, providing an opportunity to relax while contemplating the trees.

Adjoining the parking lot, which is suitable for bus parking, KKL-JNF has installed accessible picnic tables and an audio info system has been provided, which gives a brief audio explanation about the arboretum.

Now children and youngsters also find plenty of interest in a walk through the arboretum. They are introduced to the various trees through a fun interactive game, which involves the arboretum’s trees in a mystery solver game, which can be unraveled by scanning the QR codes on smartphones.

In July 2014 the then Minister of Agriculture announced that Ilanot Forest would be declared Israel’s eleventh accredited botanical garden, since it met the prestigious criteria according to the Botanical Gardens Law of 2004.

Did You Know... Iris Trail

The Iris Trail starts eastwards from the Ilanot Botanical Garden, stretching through a eucalyptus grove and open red loam land. The trail is named after the Dark-purple Iris (Iris Atropurpurea), named for its large, majestic deep purple flowers. The iris is endemic to the light sand soils of Israel’s coastal plain. It blooms between February 10 and March 10. This circular trail is approximately three kilometers long. During the iris’ blooming season you can also spot other pretty flowers along the trail including French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas), Palestine Lupine (Lupinus palaestinus) and Tel Aviv Garlic (Allium tel-avivense). The trail leads through a forest of gall oak (Quercus ithaburensis), planted by KKL-JNF.
Iris Atropurpurea

The new visitor center has been opened to the general public following a trial period. The center is the fruit of four years of hard work.

The result is a modern visitor center, wholly-dedicated to nature’s wonderful creation - trees, forests and the environment. The center includes the most modern, state-of-the-art technologies available, offering visitors a very unique experience. The center consists of two spaces:
- In the large space, visitors can freely move between four activity centers
- The smaller space is an auditorium with a display, and where group trivia quizzes are held.

Visitor Information and Opening Hours

  • Sundays thru Thursdays between 9 am and 2 pm
  • Entry to the visitor center for individuals and groups - upon advance booking
  • The activity is suitable for children aged 7 and above
  • The center can accommodate up to 50 persons
  • The various activity stations operate in Hebrew, English and Arabic
  • The video shown in the auditorium can be shown in Hebrew, English and Arabic

To book a visit for groups or individuals, send an application and complete details to the following email address:
For further information, call: 09-8974800

Activity areas in the visitor center

The Tree’s Secrets

At the center of the room is a stylized artificial tree, illuminated by special lighting. Around the tree are six tablet computers equipped with earphones. The activity begins with a brief video, which provides a general explanation about trees. The visitor can then direct the tablet toward the roots, the trunk, the canopy, the flowers or the fruit, each time showing a brief video explaining the structure and function of the tree’s various parts. The station is wheelchair accessible.

The Bicycle Station
In a different area within the space, visitors are invited for a bicycle ride, which includes a virtual reality experience. The visitor puts on a pair of VR goggles. The moment he turns the pedals, he will find himself riding along a single-track path in a KKL-JNF forest. From time to time the rider encounters one kind of animal or another. If he focuses on the animal, a brief video introducing the animal will pop up. This way the visitor learns that the forest is a complex ecosystem, in which each one of the inhabitants has its own space.
The bicycle station is also accessible. Handicapped persons can enjoy the same experience without moving their legs.


רכיבה וירטואלית ביער. צילום: יעקב שקולניק
A virtual ride through the forest

The Globe Station
The Globe Station opens a window to the visitor on the various kinds of forest around the world. A large globe is positioned in front of a screen onto which video clips are projected. Each video represents one kind of forest. The further the video advances, the more clues it discloses about that kind of forest. When the visitor is certain he has the right answer, he presses a switch, which is located in that forest’s geographical region on the globe - African savannah, Siberian coniferous forests and so forth. The sooner the visitor presses the correct button, the higher the points he will be awarded. Guessing does no good - a wrong answer “earns” the visitor a penalty of a few seconds and only once these have expired can he return to the game.

The Forestry Station
בעמדה הזו המבקר מוזמן At this station the visitor is invited to help afforestation of the country. Of course this requires some thought, since each region, with its prevailing conditions, is suitable only for certain kinds of trees. The visitor, who finds himself dealing with issues of altitude and precipitation, finds out that forestry is a science in every sense of the word.

Man and the Forest Display
The display is inside the auditorium, which is in a separate space. We won’t go into too much detail about it so as not to give the readers any “spoilers”. Suffice it to say that it is about 13 minutes long. At the end of the display, the visitors are invited to take part in a group trivia pursuit with 50 questions to answer. Each groups points are a sum of the answers provided by all the group members.

הכניסה למיצג. צילום: יעקב שקולניק
The entrance to the display

Special group activities in the visitor center
The visitor center hosts active field days for groups at minimal cost:

  • Summer camps (various ages)
  • Kindergartens
  • Elementary schools
  • Students majoring in relevant subjects (biology, environment, tourism etc.)
  • Professional courses: landscape technicians, gardening, tour guides etc.
  • Groups of adults, workers' committees, senior citizens, families

The center offers a variety of programs adapted seasonally and to the group’s preferences.

For details: 09-8974800

  • How to get there

    Location: The Ilanot Forest is located on the eastern side of the "old" Tel Aviv-Haifa road (Highway 4), between the Dror Junction and the Sharon Junction (Beit Lid Junction). Entrance to the park from the south only.
  • contact

    Telephone: 09-8974800

  • Opening hours

    Visitors' Center:
    Sunday-Thursday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Last entry at 1:00 PM.

    Every day of the year, from 8:00 AM until dusk.

    Note: As the visitors center is currently under a test-run, visits to the center must be coordinated in advance, using the above contact details. Maximum capacity 50 people.
  • Entrance fee

  • Area-


Did You Know... The Casuarina Circle

The Casuarina Circle, which is planted opposite the maze, is where 39 casuarina trees grow in an eight-meter-diameter circle. The canopies merge to form a green roof over the visitors’ heads, infusing the space with a very special atmosphere. According to Ilanot lore, the trees were planted in the 1950’s as a resting spot for the workers. One person stood at the center of the circle, from which a rope was spread outward, held by another person who walked around in a circle. With each step he took, one casuarina was planted. This space is shaded most hours of the day and is sometimes used by classes for an outdoor lesson, as a gathering space and for meditation. An accessible platform has been built inside the circle for persons with disabilities. The circle is dedicated in memory of Dan Uzan, who in February 2015 gave his life to prevent a terrorist attack on a synagogue in Copenhagen.
Casuarina Circle

The Main Path

A tour of the botanical garden at Ilanot is fun for nature lovers. It is a wonderful place to get acquainted with special trees from all over the world. The complete tour takes about one hour. It can be divided into two routes. The points of interest are described in the order of their appearance along the route and they follow the numbers on the map.The route begins at the parking lot by the entrance. From here we shall walk over to the garden’s main path, which crosses an expansive lawn.Before we reach the path we will take a look at a plant that resembles a miniature palm tree, growing alone in front of the visitor center.
Colonnade of Eucalyptus Camaldulensis
Colonnade of Eucalyptus Camaldulensis
  • This is the Cycas Revoluta - a floral dinosaur of sorts. It belongs to a group that we are familiar with primarily from the fossil record - specifically the Permian era (250 to 290 million years ago) and later eras. This was one of the world’s first seed-producing plants. It grows wild in southern Japan. The cycas is cultivated in many places around the world as an ornamental plant. Right by the entrance, before even reaching the path crossing the lawn, we are greeted by a nice selection of East African acacia trees.
  • At the same place, to the right of the path, is a strange-looking tree. The layman might never associate it with the eucalyptus family. Nevertheless, eucalyptus it is - specifically, a Eucalyptus melanophloia, whose hallmark are its silvery leaves. The young leaves are heart-shaped while the adult leaves are egg-shaped ellipses with their base hugging the branch from which they grow. This extraordinary appearance makes this variety of eucalyptus popular as an ornamental tree. In Israel it is planted in the Jordan Valley and the Western Negev. Some 170 varieties of eucalyptus have been planted at Ilanot. Only about half of them survive today. We will be able to meet them later on (the eucalyptus species includes approximately 700 varieties).
  • Left (west) of the lawn is a tree with a green trunk and yellow flowers - Cercidium floridum - a deciduous tree from the deserts of North America. It is well adapted to arid regions. Its leaves are small to prevent moisture loss due to evaporation. The green color of the trunk and branches is a sign that they are rich in chlorophyl, which enables them to take part in the photosynthesis process, which enables it to shed its leaves during periods of drought stress and to continue with the photosynthesis. The tree’s green seed pods were food for the Native Americans and large serving ladles were made from its trunks.
  • Beyond the small square with the benches is a Laurus nobilis. This is a typical Mediterranean plant. It grows wild on the Carmel mountains and in the Galilee, mainly in the moist woodlandsץ At Ilanot it has managed to grow exceptionally tall.
  • The eastern flank - the Laurus nobilis marks the end of the main path. We shall turn right (east) along the path that curves to the left. Nearby is an impressive stand of Pinus pinea, recognized by their reddish trunks. The Pinus pinea is the source of the tasty pine nuts. This tree grows in the western Mediterranean, however apparently already during Roman times it got planted throughout the ancient empire’s provinces to enjoy the splendid flavor of its nuts. KKL-JNF planted this variety of pine in its forests in the Judean Hills, the Carmel and Galilee
A rest spot in Ilanot Forest
A rest spot in Ilanot Forest
  • We have arrived at the Australia Grove. No sooner have we entered the curve and to our left the branches of the Allocasuarina torulosa drape the path forming a beautiful screen. Thanks to this property, the tree is especially effective when planted to prevent noise nuisances and to screen eyesores. The tree grows wild along the fringes of Australia’s rainforests. Its high-quality timber is used for making luxury utensils such as knife stands.
  • At the nearby rectangular square we shall encounter the Stringybark She-Oak. This is the nickname the visitors have given the Allocasuarina inophloia. The tree trunk is covered with a kind of brown fur, which splits into thin lengthwise hairlike stands. One cannot but admire the look of this unusual tree.
  • Shortly afterward, to the right of the path, is a Calliltris verrucosa. This Australian conifer, with its scaly Leaves, resembles a juniper. The tree’s endearing feature is its cone, which is covered with wartlike bumps. In Austria these cones remain closed on the tree for years. They only open after a fire, at which time they disperse hundreds of seeds which, following the fire, find plenty of clear space in which to germinate almost unencumbered by competing plants. Gardeners love this tree’s modest irrigation needs.
  • We now approach another “gate” - this time it is a spot where four paths intersect. One of the shining stars of the climatization garden grows here - the mottlecah (Eucalyptus macrocarpa). This shrublike tree grows wild in Western Australia’s semi-arid regions. Its fleshy arrowlike leaves are covered with a thick layer of hair, giving them their grayish color. The plant is loved primarily for the beauty of its huge red flower, the largest of all eucalyptus varieties. Countless red stamens grow from the flowers, each capped with a yellow hood of pollen. The tree bursts into bloom in mid-October and remains in bloom until mid-winter. Such a large flower is bound to produce large fruit. This tree has been planted in several locations around the country, including in the Western Negev, Nir Oz and Sde Teiman.

Tour and Bicycle Routes

Introducing the Trees at Ilanot

Did You Know... The Mystery of the Antelope from Ilanot

Visitors to the botanical garden at Ilanot Forest will no doubt notice the large stone slab at the beginning of the forest’s main path with an antelope carved in bas relief. In the absence of any sign to explain it, one can only be impressed by this imposing work, the delicate way the sculptor carved the antelope and the tree beside it. Until recently this artwork has been shrouded in mystery. Only a handful of people knew anything about it and about the sculptor who carved it. Now, following a chance visit to the Forest by Haim Alon, the sculptor’s son, has its fascinating story begun to emerge.

Accessible Sites

אתרים מונגשים

At the Arboretum - The Forestry Botanical Garden - the following facilities are accessible:

  • Visitor center - the augmented reality bicycles are adapted for wheelchairs. The video projected at the center contains subtitles for the hard of hearing
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables
  • The circuit walking trail along the magnificent trees - is level, gradient-free
  • Rest benches along the path
  • Wheelchair-accessible tree maze
  • Drinking fountains
  • Parking
The ILAN Recreation Area at Ilanot Arboretum (on the west side) has the following accessible facilities:
  • Parking
  • Pedestrian path
  • Playground
  • Picnic tables
The Kadima Forest has the following accessible facilities:
  • Parking
  • Path
  • Picnic tables

We thank our partners in the development of our forests and parks

The Ilanot Arboretum has been restored and developed through the generous assistance of the Friends of KKL-JNF around the world and in particular, the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County, New Jersey. 
You, too, are invited to become partners in the development of our forests and parks. The Ilanot visitor center was built with the generous assistance of the Friends of KKL-JNF in Denmark.
The photos on this page are courtesy of: Yaakov Shkolnik, Yossi Selinger, Shai Ganot, Yasmin Lahav and the KKL-JNF Photo Archive.