Plants and Place: Native Flora in Western Massachusetts

April 29, 2017 - April 29, 2017 | 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

Flynt Center of Early New England Life - 37D Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA 01342


From their arrival in the 17th century, European colonists began noting changes in New England's ecology and landscape.  Their recorded impressions largely consisted of observations in the form of letters, diaries, pamphlets, and reports of discoveries.  Less common are plant specimens and paintings or drawings of plants that document the region's flora.  This program will consider the botanical diversity of western Massachusetts as revealed in herbaria - collections of plant specimens.

In the 19th century, the practice of gathering and preserving specimens became widespread among amateur botanists  interested in studying nature, in cataloguing the natural riches of the country, and in the medicinal and culinary uses of plants. Enthusiastic American "botanizers" included well-known figures such as Meriwether Lewis and Emily Dickinson, and numerous others relegated to obscurity. The herbarium of Deerfield physician Stephen West Williams (1790-1855) demonstrates the diversity and distribution of plants in the second decade of the 19th century, and provides a baseline for the presence of invasive species and endangered or extinct flora.

This one-day forum brings together a range of speakers for a lively discussion of the history, use, and preservation of herbaria in western Massachusetts.  At the end of the program participants  will have the opportunity to examine  restored pages of Stephen West Williams’s herbarium.

The cost for the program is $95 ($80 for members, $110 for new members*) and includes lunch. For more information and registration, contact Julie Orvis at or (413) 775-7179.

Online registration for this program is available: Register Now 

Download (PDF) brochure for complete schedule and speaker information.

Download (PDF) registration form.

With support from:

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