Artwork is Copyrighted by the Artists
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Postings are excerpts from the exhibition catalog edited by Carol Woodin

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Goldenseal, Watercolor by Gillian Harris, US

Hydrastis canadensis
Listings: CITES Appendix II; Endangered, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersy, Vermont

The Plant’ Story

Once abundant in the forests of the eastern US, Goldenseal has long been collected for its medicinal properties and is still sold as an herbal remedy. As early as the 1880s, over-collecting and loss of woodland habitat led to some concern over the plant’s survival. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it began to be listed by some states as an endangered species. Pressures on plants collected for sale, such as mosses, ferns, ginseng and goldenseal are contributing to their dwindling numbers. Added to this, goldenseal’s forest habitat has been fragmented from development of all types.

The Artist’s Story: Gillian Harris

Goldenseal, native to my area of southern Indiana, grows readily in the woodland shade garden here, spreading via its yellow-orange rhizomes. I now have a small patch that has expanded from a single rescued plant I bought at an Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society sale. I chose to feature it in the fruiting stage, when its leaves are fully expanded and the habit is more evident. I also wanted to include the root, which is beautiful in its own right and possesses the alkaloids that have made this plant a widely-collected medicinal herb. I rinsed the soil from the root and took several photographs of it before replanting it in my garden.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.