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Top left: Thomas Kohler; Above: Nicholas A. Tonelli, both under Creative Commons Commerical License Kalmia latifolia Rainbow over John Bartram’s Barn From his Philadelphia farm he created an international hub for botanic discovery that has continued for generations. first to cultivate the Venus fly trap, and the first American to successfully experiment with hybridization. Ultimately he introduced between 150 and 200 new American plant species to Europe and he had a particular interest in medicinal plants. Bartram was also the recipient of botanical treasures and he along with his family is responsible for many American introductions. Experts at Bartram Gardens have recently discovered correspondence between Ben Franklin and John Bartram that suggests the two were responsible for bringing soybeans to the Americas. In 1770 Franklin sent Bartram soybeans he received from an English merchant named James Flint who had spent more than a decade in China. Franklin called the soybeans “Chinese Garavances” and talked about a cheese made from the beans that excited him greatly called “taufu.” Bartram’s family continued to be highly influential in the nursery trade long after the patriarch passed. They introduced the poinsettia to America and discovered such garden favorites as the oakleaf hydrangea, mountain laurel, and some varieties of rhododendrons. For more information visit LEAF MAGAZINE design outside 37

Leaf Magazine, Issue 5, Spring 2013

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