Dr. Duke had his personal cures. “To treatment a chilly, he mashes up the stems and leaves of forsythia,” Ms. Raver wrote. “To assist strengthen weak capillaries, he makes ‘rutinade’ from violet and buckwheat flowers, lemongrass and rhubarb stalks, and herbs excessive in rutin (anise, chamomile, mint, rose hips).”
He additionally made lemonade from the wild plant Mayapple and wrote a ditty about it:
Penobscot Indians up in Maine
Had a really pithy sayin’:
Rub the foundation on each day
And it’ll take your warts away!
. . . I’ll enterprise to prognosticate
Earlier than my music is sung:
This herb will assist eradicate
Most cancers of the lung.
James Alan Duke was born on April 4, 1929, in Eastlake, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala., to Robert Edwin and Martha (Truss) Duke. His love of crops, he wrote, got here from his mom, an avid gardener, and from spending time within the woods of rural Alabama with “nation cousins” and an aged neighbor, who launched him to edible wild crops, like chestnuts and watercress.
His parallel love of music started when he was 5 years outdated: He was promoting magazines to assist earn cash for his household when he encountered bluegrass musicians in a neighborhood faculty dormitory.
After the household moved to North Carolina, he discovered to play the bass fiddle in highschool and commenced performing with Homer Briarhopper and His Dixie Dudes, a rustic band he had heard on the radio. At 16, he performed on a 78-r.p.m. document that the band lower in Nashville.
Dr. Duke attended the College of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the place his bass enjoying caught the ear of Johnny Satterfield, a big-band chief who taught there. He recruited Jim Duke as a jazz bassist, on the situation that he enroll within the music program.
His native love of botany kicked in, although, and from 1952 to 1960 he earned bachelor’s, grasp’s and doctoral levels in botany at Chapel Hill. He did postdoctoral work as a professor at Washington College in St. Louis and curatorial work on the Missouri Botanical Gardens there.
Botany and music continued to be entwined in his life, nonetheless. Whereas working, he would choose up gigs at golf equipment and carry out with jazz, blues and nation singers.