This year’s annual Johnstone Lecture will highlight the native plants of the Mount Cameroon region of Africa. These plants are of economic importance and used medicinally, nutritionally, and culturally. Paul Blackmore, manager of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Fuqua Tropical Conservatory, will discuss how these plants are used by the local people. He will also discuss the role of the 120-year old Limbe Botanical Garden in the conservation of these important plants, both locally and worldwide. He will also bring along a sampling the plants.
Blackmore will focus on The Limbe Botanic Garden, founded in 1890 at the base of Mount Cameroon, an active volcano whose eruptions affect the surrounding tropical landscape. The Limbe Botanic Garden has a rich herbarium and works closely with indigenous cultures to understand native plants. These plants may be used for fuel, food, crafts, structures, medicines and more, giving us a glimpse into how they can benefit people worldwide. Medicines from Central African plants have been used to fight cancer and diabetes and flavor familiar foods and drinks. Local farmers are encouraged to sustainably produce some of these plants, enriching the local economy while supplying useful products to other countries.
The Johnstone Lecture, sponsored by FRIENDS of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, was named in honor of the State Botanical Garden’s first director, Dr. Francis E. Johnstone, Jr. In December 1967, Dr. Johnstone first proposed the idea of a botanical garden to the University of Georgia’s Campus Planning and Improvement Committee. The 2012 Johnstone Lecture is being held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebration of the University of Georgia’s African Studies Institute.