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Native plants focus of lecture, tour April 6

Yellow pitcher plants are one of more than 200 species of plants found at Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum’s Hillside Bog in north Hancock County.
Yellow pitcher plants are one of more than 200 species of plants found at Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum’s Hillside Bog in north Hancock County. The nativeNOW Wild Walk will take place at the bog in conjunction with The Crosby Arboretum’s Lecture Series April 6. (Photo courtesy of Pat Drackett)

PICAYUNE -- The Gulf South’s native vegetation holds a few secrets that will be revealed to those who attend special events on April 6.

Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum and Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans are sponsoring two informative, hands-on programs featuring edible plants: a morning lecture at the Margaret Reed Crosby Library and an afternoon tour of the arboretum's Hillside Bog.

From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Louisiana-based botanist and author Charles Allen will introduce participants to a variety of native plants suitable for making teas, spices and other foods in his lecture, “Edible and Useful Plants of the Gulf Coast.” An assortment of samples will be available for tasting. The Margaret Reed Crosby Library is located at 900 Goodyear Boulevard in Picayune.

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the Hillside Bog tour will be held as part of Longue Vue museum’s nativeNOW Wild Walk series. Allen will lead the tour, along with Marc Pastorek, owner of Meadowmakers, a Louisiana-based wildflower seed company; Tyrone Forman, steward of Longue Vue’s Wild Garden; and Terry Johnson, grounds manager and certified burn manager at Crosby Arboretum.

They will discuss the bog’s carnivorous plants and native wildflowers.

Arboretum staff will provide a map to the bog and a list of nearby restaurants. A caravan will leave MSU’s Crosby Arboretum parking lot at 1:45 p.m. for the Hillside Bog, located 10 minutes away in north Hancock County. Organizers encourage participants to bring their lunches to the arboretum’s Pinecote Pavillion and enjoy the grounds at the arboretum before departing for the tour.

For Longue Vue members and guests who want to participate in the tour only, a caravan will leave New Orleans at 12:30 p.m. from Lowe’s East in the Lake Forest Shopping Center, located at 5770 Read Boulevard.

Space is limited and preregistration is required for both events. Registration is free to Crosby Arboretum and Longue Vue members. Registration is $5 for each event for non-members. To register for the lecture, call the Arboretum at (601) 799-2311. For more information or to register for the tour, contact Hilairie Schackai at or (504) 293-4726 at Longue Vue.

Charles Allen is currently a research associate at Colorado State University and the author of numerous books and publications on native Gulf Coast vegetation. He has studied the native flora of the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem of Mississippi and Louisiana for 35 years. Books by Allen will be available for purchase.

Longue Vue House and Gardens is an eight-acre estate and house museum with 14 different gardens, including a one-acre native plants garden.


Released: March 7, 2013
Writer: Susan Collins-Smith
Contact: Pat Drackett, (601) 799-2311; Hilairie Schackai, (504) 293-4726

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