Naturalist and writer, George Ellison will present a lecture titled “Edible, Utilitarian, and Religio-Medical Plants Used by the Cherokees” on Monday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Macon County Public Library. Sponsored by the Southern Appalachian Plant Society, the lecture will consider the origins of Cherokee plant lore and the extent to which the early white settlers in the Blue Ridge learned practical usage from them. Emphasis will be placed on ginseng, river cane, buckeye and devil’s-shoestring, green-headed coneflower (and other spring greens); plant dyes, and plants evoked in the “sacred formulas” (songs and chants) for religious and medicinal purposes. There will be a book signing by Ellison and his wife, Elizabeth, after the lecture. Their books include “Mountain Passages,” “Blue Ridge Nature Journal,” and “Permanent Camp.” The lecture is free and open to the public.
George Ellison writes the “Nature Journal” column for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Botanical Excursions column for “Chinquapin: The Newsletter of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society” as well as the “Back Then” column for The Smoky Mountain News.
Each year, Ellison conducts natural and human history workshops for the North Carolina Arboretum, “The Native Plant Conference” at Western Carolina University, The University of Tennessee’s “Smoky Mountain Field School,” The Great Smoky Mountains Association, The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Cullowhee NC, The Highlands (NC) Biological Station, and The Intentional Growth Center at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Ellison is the 2012 winner of Wild South's Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation Award for Outstanding Journalist in Conservation.
The Southern Appalachian Plant Society consists of a loosely organized, but very enthusiastic, group of individuals from North Carolina and Georgia who simply enjoy becoming more informed about the plants in the forests and gardens of the Southern Appalachians. For more information, call (828)369-1902 or visit http://sapsncga.blogspot.com.