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Georgia native plant photo guide published

By April Sorrow
University of Georgia

It is impossible to describe the beauty of a Nodding Trillium to someone who has never seen one. A new field guide from the University of Georgia provides a pictorial hike through the Georgia Mountains and includes detailed descriptions of native plants like Foam Flower, Showy Orchids, Pink Lady’s Slipper and Nodding Trillium.

Native Plants of North Georgia: A Pocket Guide for Plant Enthusiasts was developed by UGA Cooperative Extension. The guide was created by Mickey Cummings, Union County Extension Coordinator.

The pocket-size publication, which sells for $7, includes 66 plants native to North Georgia. Each plant listing is accompanied by a photograph and a brief plant description including the common name, scientific name, leaf and flower descriptions, habitat and historical plant uses.

“There are a lot of books out there that are big and heavy,” Cummings said. “We really needed something you could put in your back pocket or backpack.”

Cummings’ interest in plants was prompted by a family story about his grandmother who was healed of a life-threatening infection by native herbs. “That story has always been in the back of mind,” he said.

An interest in plants and a need to educate and inform the public about native plants was the driving force behind the guide, his first publication.

Cummings began taking pictures of native plants four years ago and, until the guide, was using them to teach programs to interested citizens at the Georgia Mountain Center. He has over 600 students every year.

He recommends home landscapers bring the guide with them to garden centers to ensure they purchase appropriate landscape plants.

“A lot of people are interested in using native plants in their landscape,” he said. “Incorporating natives requires less watering and plants are more resistant to diseases and pests.”

Cummings plans to publish a second volume, cataloging more native plant species. He’s also planning one on shrubs.

The guide sold over 100 copies the first week it was published. To order a copy of the guide, send a request and $7 check to the Office of Communications, 117 Hoke Smith Annex, Athens, GA 30602-4356 or call Karen Kelley at 706-542-2657 with credit card orders.

(April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(April R. Sorrow is a science writer with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)

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