KU News Release

June 12, 2012
Contact: Kirsten Bosnak, Kansas Biological Survey, 785-864-5745

Public tour planned at KU medicinal garden Saturday

From left are Kim Scherman, Eudora, KU senior in English and journalism and mass communications; Katie Fankhauser, Topeka, KU junior in environmental studies; and Allyson Prue, Lawrence, a Haskell Indian Nations University junior in environmental science, work at KU Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden.

LAWRENCE—The public is invited to the annual summer tour of the University of Kansas Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 16.

The medicinal garden is connected with the KU Native Medicinal Plant Research Program, a collaboration between botany and medicinal chemistry. KU announced in March that, through the program’s research, 14 new natural chemical compounds had been discovered in Physalis longifolia, the wild tomatillo, that showed significant anti-cancer properties in preclinical testing.

Kelly Kindscher, a senior scientist at the Kansas Biological Survey and a professor of environmental studies, heads the botany side of the program and will lead Saturday’s tour. Barbara Timmermann, University Distinguished Professor and chair of medicinal chemistry, heads the medicinal chemistry side.

The garden serves as a gateway to the KU Field Station, as it is the first of several KU Field Station sites on East 1600 Road in Douglas County north of Highway 40. Both KU students, as well as Haskell Indian Nations University students involved in KU science labs through the KU-Haskell RISE Fellowship program, are involved in maintenance and research at the garden.

Students in the fields of environmental studies, engineering, journalism, architecture, fine arts and geology all have taken part in projects at the garden. In addition, KU students, faculty and staff from many fields participate in the KU Student Farm at the same site.

Last year’s summer garden tour drew more than 85 attendees, ranging from toddlers to visitors in their 80s.

“We are delighted to see so much public interest in medicinal plants—and in the research being done in the program this garden is part of,” Kindscher said. “The garden is also a magnet for students and provides great learning opportunities for those who work with our program.”

Features of the garden include:

• Research plantings—This 50-by-260-foot space includes large beds of 25 species of native plants, including wild tomatillo, echinacea, yarrow, wild mint, stinging nettle and others.

• Demonstration/show garden—This 70-by-80-foot garden, just inside the gate at the research garden, is thriving in its second year of growth and includes six different themed beds of medicinal plants.

• KU Student Farm—Conceived by KU students in 2010 through a class project, this community garden includes more than 50 individual plots maintained by more than 100 KU students, faculty and staff for growing food.

The garden site is open to the public dawn to dusk. The website of the Native Medicinal Plant Research Program is here.

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.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

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