The Two-Time South Carolina Governor
Today is the anniversary of the death of a two-time Governor of South Carolina, the founder of the University of South Carolina, a writer, and a botanist John Drayton.
Drayton grew up in Charleston, a hub of botanical activity. He knew the French royal gardener Andre Michaux and his son, who had settled in the area. The Michaux's introduced the camellias and Indian azaleas; Joel Roberts Poinsett, the man who discovered the Poinsettia, was also a son of Charleston. And, the gardener Chancellor Waddy Thompson and Benjamin Perry also helped to shape the horticulture scene in the Greenville area.
Drayton is remembered for his 1807 unpublished book “The Carolinian Florist.” Drayton listed almost a thousand plants, when they flowered, and where they could be found. Drayton presented his work to the South Carolina College library in 1807. The University South Carolina Society published it in 1943.
Drayton explored Paris Mountain and the Greenville Area. He discovered the fragrant yellow honeysuckle (Lonicera flava Sims “Lah-NISS-er-ah FLAY-vah”) - commonly known as yellow honeysuckle - growing on the south side of Paris Mountain.
The name Lonicera was derived from the name of the German herbalist Adam Lonitzer (1527-1586). The specific epithet "flava" and variations all reference the yellow ('flavus') or yellowish '(flavescens') color of the flowers. Honeysuckle is also known as woodbine or goat's leaf.