KU News Release


May 10, 2011
Contact: Kirsten Bosnak, Kansas Biological Survey, 785-864-6267

Demonstration garden to be planted at Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden

LAWRENCE — The public is invited to participate in the planting of a new educational demonstration garden at the University of Kansas Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden site near the Lawrence airport from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14.

The relaxed, informal event is focused on getting plants in the ground. All ages are welcome to help with the planting or simply make a visit.


The new demonstration garden, designed by faculty and staff of the Native Medicinal Plant Research Program, will include about 90 species, including many native to Kansas. The plants will be organized into six garden beds, each with a separate theme:

— Species in the genus Echinacea, the most widely used medicinal plants in North America
— Plants historically used as food by Native Americans in the Great Plains region
— Species in the genus Asclepias (milkweeds)
— Plants historically used medicinally in Europe
— Native plants that have been listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia and National Formulary, which contains standards for medicines, dosage forms, drug substances and dietary supplements
— Scented plants, including plants used to make teas

In addition to planting the new garden, plans for the day include expansion of the medicinal plant research area. Participants can help plant two new rows of species from the genus Physalis, commonly known as ground cherry, for research purposes.

“This will be a very informal event — a planting party, really,” said Kelly Kindscher, who heads the botany arm of the medicinal plant research program. “In addition to planting this new educational garden on Saturday, we plan to give away starter plants of medicinal sage and wild mint, which are thriving and spreading in the research area of the garden.”

Planting participants are encouraged to bring garden trowels, as well as pots for free starter plants.

The Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden is at 1865 E. 1600 Road in Douglas County, less than 10 minutes from downtown Lawrence and adjacent to the Prairie Moon Waldorf School grounds. It is part of the KU Field Station, which includes about 1,800 acres of research land with public trails three miles north of the garden.

Also at the medicinal garden site:

— 20 medicinal plant species planted in the research area of the garden in 2010
— The KU Student Farm, now operating in its first year as a community garden
— A new shade structure, designed by engineering graduate student Neil Steiner and built with reclaimed materials
— A new solar-powered composting latrine, designed and being built by the student group Engineers Without Borders under the direction of Craig Adams, the J. L. Constant Distinguished Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

The Native Medicinal Plant Research Program is a collaboration between medicinal chemistry and botany. University Distinguished Professor Barbara Timmermann, chair of medicinal chemistry at the School of Pharmacy, is principal investigator for the program. Kindscher, a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey and a member of the faculty in environmental studies, is co-principal investigator.

An informational flier for the May 14 event, including a map and directions to the garden site, is available at www.nativeplants.ku.edu/events.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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