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Mr. Smarty Plants - Texas plants useful to early settlers

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Tuesday - June 05, 2012

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants
Title: Texas plants useful to early settlers
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I'm working on some interpretation for a prairie heritage trail in SE TX (near Houston). I'd like to know where I can find some good information on plant remedies which might have been used by early settlers to this part of Texas? Preferably with any documented information on how these remedies might have been prepared (i.e., poultices, salves etc). Thanks so much Amanda Hughes-Horan, Interpretive Insights

ANSWER:

 

By far the most detailed account of medicinal plants is found in "The Useful Wild Plants of Texas, the Southestern and Southwestern United States, the Southern Plains, and Northern Mexico", by Scooter Cheatham, Marshall Johnston, and Lynn Marshall.  Unfortunately, only the first three volumes of a projected fifteen volume set have been published.  The series is arranged alphabetically by genus name, so if you have plants  whose botanical genus name begins with A or C (through Celtis), you are in luck.  The volumes are large and expensive, so you may have to look in a large library to find them.  Perhaps the Rice University library?

A second recommendation is "Remarkable Plants of Texas: Uncommon Accounts of Our Common Natives", by Matt Warnock Turner. This 2009 book is more readily available, through Amazon.com, for example.

A third, and somewhat less appropriate volume is "Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest", by Delena Tull.  Also available at Amazon.com.

Good luck in your research!

 

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