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Students Study Medicinal Plants in Summer
Fifteen RU biology students worked with Dr. Christine Small and Dr. Jim Chamberlain (USDA Forest Service) to conduct ecological research in national forests of Virginia. Research students carried out field experiments to investigate the sustainability of wild harvest practices on Appalachian medicinal plants and other “non-timber forest products” (commercially important native plants). Field studies focused on blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) and black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), two Appalachian forest plants harvested and sold worldwide as herbal supplements for treatment of female reproductive conditions. This research contributes to USDA Forest Service efforts to conserve and manage Appalachian natural forest resources.
Researchers Chris Nuckols, Christine Small, Heston Anderson, Autumn Pierce, Jake Christman, Casey Worsham, Morgan Lusk, Abbey Humphreys, Erika Palmquist, Elizabeth Hiebert, and River Allen (L to R).
Research student Fallon Parker holding a blue cohosh rhizome, the medicinal component of the plant.
Students Sheryl Manning and Jasmine Vaughn prepare harvested plants for weighing.