Seattle Culture

The UW’s Medical Herb Garden is in Full Bloom

The strolling's good (but touching is bad!) at this century-old garden.

By Carolyn Yuen June 10, 2011

0711_scoop_0

This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of Seattle magazine.

Originally planted by the University of Washington School of Pharmacy in 1911, the Medicinal Herb Garden has survived budget cuts and campus expansion, as well as a post–World War II shift in national preference from herbal to synthetic medicines. Now maintained by the UW Department of Biology, under the care of curator and gardener Keith Possee, the century-old garden spans 2.5 acres and boasts more than 1,000 species of medicinal herbs and plants (none of which are ever harvested; the garden is for educational and display purposes only). Paths meander through seven sections of species, such as the spotted touch-me-not (a contact-shy plant that actually relieves rashes), the boxthorn species that produces goji berries (all the rage in smoothies) and Sweet Annie (critical in the treatment of malaria). This month is the perfect time to look—but don’t touch; picking is strictly prohibited. Open daily. Free. Guided tours available with arrangements made two weeks prior. Located on the UW campus on Stevens Way (southwest of the Chemistry Building); 206.543.0436; www.biology.washington.edu/mhg.

 

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