Nov. 9, 2019

swamp bay, Persea palustris

Swamp bay isn't too much to look at, but it is interesting. And in trouble. A plant rust imported from east Asia is killing swamp bay in great numbers. A majority of plants in North Carolina are already gone. Other areas have similar problems. As with many aromatic plants, this small tree was much used in herbal medicine, particularly by the Seminole people. To them, diseases were manifestations of parts of the natural world. Swamp bay was used to treat many ailments, including bear, rainbow, sun, wolf, adult's, baby, scalping, bird, thunder, otter, raccoon, cat, buzzard, deer, dead people's, fire, ghost, opossum, and mist sicknesses. Each of those have a specific constellation of symptoms thought to emanate from the namesake, but there are a couple of exceptions. Adult's sickness for example comes from aspecific activity children would not be involved in. Swamp bay grows in AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TX, and VA. EvergladesNational Park FL, 3/20/16.