Friday, April 15, 2011
Fothergilla in bloom near the Visitor Center
Fothergillas are shrubs native to the American Southeast that are grown as ornamental plants for their puffy-white flowers in spring and bright color of their fall foliage. There are several in bloom near the Visitor Center at Ijams.
John Fothergill (1712-1780) was an English physician, plant collector and philanthropist.
As a physician in London, Fothergill had an extensive practice noted for successfully treating patients during the epidemics of influenza in 1775 and 1776. His hobby was botany. At Upton near Stratford, Dr. Fothergill had an extensive botanical garden (today known as West Ham Park) with many rare plants collected from various parts of the world. He also helped finance the travels of American naturalist William Bartram, who collected plants from the Southeast to be shipped back to England.
Fothergillas, the shrubs collected in America, were named for the English physician. We all should be so honored.
- Text and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales