Wide Angle Lunches: John Rashford
People and Plants: The African Baobab Tree in the Americas
The Baobab was made famous in the West by Saint-Exupery's "Little Prince," whose planet was too tiny to support the tree's enormous trunks.
Long regarded as a mystical provider in African communities, the fruit, leaves and seeds of this giant are now being eyed by producers as the world's newest superfood. But Africa's most famous tree was actually introduced to this side of the Atlantic some three hundred years ago.
Ethnobotanist and College of Charleston anthropology Professor John Rashford will review the introduction, distribution and uses of the species in the Americas in the post-Columbian period, and in particular, the reasons people have given for planting the tree.
Professor Rashford hails originally from Jamaica. With a B.A, from Friends World College, an M.A and Ph.D. from The Graduate School, City University of New York, he has traveled the world investigating "Plants and landscapes, plants and religion, plants and medicine, plants and poisons, plants and material culture such as home-building," but he continues to find material to inspire him around the College of Charleston campus, where he has been a much-loved professor since 1982.
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