Steven Foster – In Memoriam

Steven Foster – In Memoriam

Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Steven Foster, 1957 - 2022

We are shocked and saddened to report the sudden passing of Steven Foster last weekend.

Steven was known and loved as a botanical photographer extraordinaire, prolific author of botanical books, teacher, herbalist, and longtime contributor to the herbal industry. His engagements with AHPA date back to nearly the beginning of our association’s 40-year history.

In 1988, Steven advocated to protect lady’s slippers (Cypripedium) from disappearing in the wild. His close friend, Mark Blumenthal, brought the matter to AHPA’s Board, leading to the adoption of AHPA’s first-ever and still-standing trade requirement that prohibits trade in wild-harvested lady’s slippers.

Author and expert on herbal literature, Steven served as the editor of the first edition of AHPA’s Herbs of Commerce. Published in 1992, Herbs of Commerce was subsequently incorporated by reference in federal regulations.

Credited for helping to popularize echinacea as we know it, Steven and his expertise on the herbaceous flowering plants were essential to the success of AHPA’s Echinacea Symposium in Lawrence, Kansas in 1999.

In 2008, Steven received the AHPA Herbal Insight Award for furthering the knowledge and understanding of medicinal and aromatic plants through his excellent work as a photographer, author and consultant. His ability to “capture the elegance and intimacy of the ‘human-plant relationship’” was celebrated as astounding.

Most recently, in 2021, Steven provided the photographs for AHPA’s publication of good stewardship harvesting practices for saw palmetto berries (Serenoa repens).

AHPA President Michael McGuffin spoke with Steven just last month. “We talked about books, botanical photographs, and arriving at an age when it becomes a pleasure to give away the things that we’ve spent decades collecting,” recalled Michael of his longtime colleague and dear friend.

Steven was a giant in the herbal community for almost half a century. To say he will be missed is both true and a gross understatement – he is irreplaceable.

Words are not enough…

Thus, in closing, we encourage you to visit Steven’s Facebook page where he shared his incredible talent for botanical photography.


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