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Represented in the Massachusetts Medical Society HORTUS MEDICUS in the 21st century

The English colonists who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, called themselves the Separatists, but they have come to be known to us in history as the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims came to these shores to stay, not to explore and then return home as did many of the Spanish explorers in Florida and elsewhere in the western hemisphere. The Pilgrims anticipated their needs to cultivate for food and medicine in order to survive and thrive in the New World. In anticipation of their needs, the women passengers brought onboard the Mayflower seeds and cuttings of 63 plants in two categories: medicinal plants they called physic herbs and culinary plants they called pot herbs. The Pilgrims valued some of these plants (herbs) for their medicinal value as well as their food flavoring and nutritional value. Thirty-two of the 63 Pilgrim selections (the physic herbs) are represented in our medicinal garden. The first apple orchard (near Boston in 1625) to be successfully established in the United States was made up of trees grown from seeds brought from England on the Mayflower in 1620.

View the plants grown at Plimoth Plantation

The photograph of Mayflower II was taken by William Spiro George, MD, member of the Massachusetts Medical Society