Five years ago, a survey was done to see what plants the public found most important as far as changing Minnesota. Nearly 500 different plants were nominated over a few months time. A panel of experts then met to decide on the top 10. Plants nominated were judged on their impact, be it positive or negative in six areas: environmental; economic or industrial; cultural/spiritual;historical; sustenance; and landscape.
The top 10 selected were alfalfa, American elm, apple, corn, purple loosestrife, soybeans, turfgrass/lawn, wheat, white pine, and wild rice. Plants that didn’t make the list, but received lots of discussion were buckthorn, Eurasian milfoil, hosta, grapes, potatoes, and sugar beets.
Fast forward five years and you can get lots of wonderful information on these plants and how they tie into Minnesota’s landscape in Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota, which was published March 1, 2017. The idea that only 10 plants could shape how Minnesota changed economically, culturally, and historically is at the core of the Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota project, which includes a companion website and popular freshman seminar at the University of Minnesota.
Mary Hockenbery Meyer and Susan Davis Price, the authors, along with reviews by more than thirty experts and scientists, with research drawn from newspaper and journal reports, historical photos, diaries, and interviews, intensifies the impact of these 10 plants. Arne Carlson, once a governor to Minnesota (1991-1999), also provides the forward to this title.
This book is 224 pages in length and features 75 color and black and white photos, and also 25 maps and charts. It is packed with information regarding these top 10 plants plus many unique and fascinating facts painting Minnesota’s past and present.
Living in this state all of my life, I knew the importance of corn and soybeans to the landscape of Minnesota, but the other eight surprised me, like alfalfa being able to grow roots up to 49 feet in length! To learn more about Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota, please visit mnhspress.org.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.