- Associated Press - Friday, September 4, 2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A newly developed medicinal garden is open for self-guided tours at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

It’s part of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and consists of paved paths separating plant beds that are unconventionally organized - grouped according to systems of the human body and the conditions they treat, according to Director Bob Grese. For example, foxglove is a common garden plant that will be in the “cardiovascular” section because it’s a heart medicine ingredient.

“Usually plants are grouped by families or by what part of the plant is harvested,” he said, but the garden is organized for educational purposes.

The garden will be a permanent exhibition open to scholars, researchers and the general public. It features more than 110 plant varieties. The 6,000-square-foot garden runs the length of Matthaei’s conservatory and doesn’t look like a traditional garden, Grese said.

“Due to the fact that plants are useful for medicinal purposes at different points in their life cycle, one plant may be flowering while another may be ready for harvesting,” he said.



Associate Curator David Michener said the garden is part of a long tradition of interdisciplinary partnerships between pharmacy, medicine and botany programs at the university. QR codes offering links to more information about specific plants can be found on labels at the garden.

The team at Matthaei Botanical Gardens worked on the project for more than two years, collaborating with Leslie Shimp, professor at the university’s College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Sara Warber, clinical associate professor at the university’s Medical School.

“There are many gardens that address medicinal plants, but very few attempt to be evidence-based like this one,” Warber said. “So often, we talk about plants and the conditions they treat, but many haven’t seen or considered them in their original state.”

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Online:

https://www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg

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