Judith Sumner

» Botanical Travel, History (32)
» Botany, Plant Science (9)
» School, Community Gardens (15)
» Timber Press Authors (14)
» Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs (49)


15 Rittenhouse Rd. 01602

Judith Sumner is a botanist and author specializing in ethnobotany, herbs, flowering plants, pollination, and plant adaptations. She lectures widely at botanical gardens, including the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and Garden in the Woods.

w: http://www.judithsumner.com

e: view email sumnerbotany@gmail.com


Judith graduated from Vassar College and completed graduate studies in botany at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and at the British Museum (Natural History) and did extensive field work in the Pacific region on the genus Pittosporum.   She has published monographic studies in the American Journal of Botany, Pollen et Spores, and Allertonia, as well as monographing two families for  Flora Vitiensis Nova Judith has been the lecturer-in-residence at the Star Island Natural History Conference, and she has been a guest on the Martha Stewart Living television show, the PBS program "Cultivating Life" with Sean Conway, and various other PBS and educational programs. She recently presented a First Friday lecture at the Boston Museum of Science and was a featured lecturer at the Herb Society (USA) annual meeting. Her column “The Gardener’s Kitchen” (under the pseudonym Laura Craig) appeared in Horticulture magazine for several years. In 2007 Judith was awarded the Gertrude B. Foster Award for Excellence in Herbal Literature by the Herb Society of America.   Her book American Household Botany won the American Horticultural Sociey Book Award in 2005 Judith is a frequent invited lecturer for botanical and horticultural organizations and symposia, including the Arnold Arboretum, Garden in the Woods, New York Botanical Garden, Herb Society of America, Plimoth Plantation,Old Sturbridge Village, Berkshire Botanical Garden, Polly Hill Arboretum,Strawbery Banke, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Mohonk Mountain House and Preserve,Cornell Plantations, Maine Garden Day, Michigan Herb Associates, Master Gardeners, Museum of Science (Boston), New England Flower Show, Wellesley College Friends of Horticulture, and the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.


Women in Botany

Birds' Nest Botany

Botany for Gardeners

Flowering Plant Families

The Microworld of Plants

Herbs, Herbals, and Herbalists

Botanical Names for the Fearful

Pomes to Pepos: The Botany of Fruits

The Natural History of Medicinal Plants

Pollination: Birds, Bees, Flowers, and Seeds

In a Pickle:  The Science, Art, and Lore of Pickling

Household Botany: Plant Uses in American Homes

Lights, Water, Action!    Understanding Plant Growth

The Dirt on Dirt: Underground Ecology for Gardeners

Household Botany: Useful Plants in the American Home 

Victory Gardens: How a Nation of Gardeners Helped to Win the War



Photo Gallery


Audience Reviews

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On

Wonderful speaker!

Susan Tredwell from ME - 03/28/2017 10:55:56

Thoroughly entertaining speaker who combines her academic background with an engaging approach to plants and their history. I have now heard her speak in two very different settings——the first, a garden club in a small city setting, and the second, a Master Gardeners conference in rural Maine. And she was a hit at both. A refreshing break from the usual fare!

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On

Interesting and entertaining

Traci Sobocinski from Danvers - 11/20/2016 11:49:28

Thought-provoking and entertaining presenter. A perfect blend of science and lore. Thank you for your contribution to an audience who may not be scientists, but who love plants and seek to know and understand them better.

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On

Engaging speaker!

Jane Eyre from MA - 10/05/2016 20:22:48

Judith interweaves botany, horticulture, and natural history into a fascinating narrative. We had so much fun listening to her that I didn't realize how much I was learning!

Complete the form below to contact this speaker.

Please enter the text you see in the image at the left into the textbox. This is required to prevent automated submission of contact requests.

*Verification Code image cannot be displayed