Conservation Articles


Seeking the Silvestre Romero in Spain

by Susan Leopold I landed in Spain for the International Congress of Ethnobotany, and as serendipity would have it, the hotel I had booked was in a small square located in what was once the Jewish/Arabic part of Cordoba. Next to my hotel was the only remaining synagogue that was not destroyed when the Jews were forced to leave around 1200. This particular square was dedicated and named after Maimonides, a Sephardic Jewish philosopher, who ...
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canella winterana flowers 1

Florida’s Threatened Herbs

by Emily Ruff Wild cinnamon ( Canella winterana ) flowersSome 450 miles long and kept humid by the ocean on either side, the state of Florida supports plant species from temperate to tropical, coastal to wetland to upland. Boasting a melting pot of exotic plants naturalized from far away, this region also features an impressive array of native medicinal species. The climate variations of Florida support rare habitats of tropical and subtropical plants found nowhere ...
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Disjunct Medicine: A History of the (Two) Mayapple(s)

by Sasha M. White As early as 1731 Mark Catesby described the medicinal use of American mayapple root in his Natural History of the Carolinas . Image courtesy of the Lloyd Library & Museum.When Europeans came to North America, the mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), also called mandrake, raccoon berry or wild lemon, was one of the earliest plants to be noticed. Samuel Champlain noted Huron tribes eating the fruit in 1616, and shortly thereafter it was ...
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ginseng summit

American Ginseng Summit

by Glynis Board, West Virginia Public Radio Attendees of The American Ginseng SummitUnited Plant Savers was honored to host the 2014 American Ginseng Summit at our Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, OH where we discussed safe-guarding wild populations of American ginseng, as well as protecting the American ginseng export industry and creating a domestic market. Below is the write up of the NPR radio coverage. You can also listen to this program with a link ...
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Pirates for the Planet

by UpS Executive Director, Susan Leopold The “At-Risk” Tool made its published debut in 2014 culminating in years of work by many in the UpS community.1 The visionaries of the “At-Risk” tool are former UpS Board Member Kelly Kindscher of the University of Kansas and Lisa Castle, the 2014 Medicinal Plant Conservation Award recipient, of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The format of the assessment tool was in part patterned after the Blue Oceans Group’s Seafood ...
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The Two Sides of Chaga

by Robert Dale Rogers Chaga ( Inonotus obliquus )Over the past decade, herbalists have increasingly embraced the use of medicinal mushrooms in clinical practice. These members of the Fungi Kingdom offer many health benefits, and there remains much to be learned about them. Some mushrooms, such as reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), turkey tail (Trametes versicolor), and maitake (Grifola frondosa) have undergone numerous in vitro, in vivo, and assorted human clinical trials. These involve studies on the ...
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Erika Ginseng

Framing a Domestic Market for American Ginseng: A Conversation

by Erika Galentin “…it may also be true that ginseng gains resilience [as a species] by attracting different elements of human society–not just people involved in medicine, but also in culture and commerce.” David A. Taylor, Ginseng, the Devine Root American ginseng ( Panax quinquefolius ) berriesEvidenced by the United Plant Savers’ Ginseng Summit of 2014 and the North Carolina Natural Products Association’s International Ginseng Expo of 2015, there is tender evolution taking place in ...
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