George Edward Post

Flora of the Middle East

Today is the birthday of the surgeon and botanist George Edward Post.

We remember George because he wrote a Flora of the Middle East. Westerners were delighted because, for the first time, it was written in English, and they could understand it.

George botanized in Syria, which is where he lived most of his life. He was in Syria, serving as a missionary and doctor. In his spare time, he would be off collecting plants and working on his Flora.

George was a man who had tremendous energy and stamina. He worked long hours, and many colleagues acknowledged that he accomplished more than most folks in a 24-hour period. In his personal life, it turns out that George had the ability to fall asleep quickly, which no doubt helped him recharge on-demand and as needed.

One account of George's tremendous lust for life and plant collecting relayed that he would go off into the mountains on horseback. The story goes that George was such a good horseman; he could collect specimens without getting off his horse. He was allegedly able to lean below his saddle and reach way down to cut and collect a specimen. Then, he'd just sit back up and go on his way.

At the end of his life, George was aware that his body was worn out, and he said something to that effect in the days before he died. Around that same time, he received a visitor who knew just how to revive his spirits. The guest placed a few pieces of ripe wheat in his hand as a symbol of the harvest and of the specimens George had spent a lifetime studying. It also served as a reminder of the treasured bible passage:

"To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."

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George Edward Post
George Edward Post

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