2012 - Volume 10 : Ethnobotany Research and Applications

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    Consequences of the loss of traditional knowledge : The risk of injurious and toxic plants growing in kindergartens
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Cuadra, Vanesa Pérez ; Cambi, Viviana Nora ; Rueda, María de los Ángeles ; Calfuán, Melina Lorena
    The plant kingdom is a producer of poisons from a variety of toxic species. Nevertheless prevention of plant poisonings in Argentina is disregarded. As children are more affected, an evaluation of the dangerous plants present in kindergartens, and about the knowledge of teachers in charge about them, has been conducted. Floristic inventories and semi-structured interviews with teachers were carried out at 85 institutions of Bahía Blanca City. A total of 303 species were identified, from which 208 are considered to be harmless, 66 moderately and 29 highly harmful. Of the moderately harmful, 54% produce phytodematitis, and among the highly dangerous those with alkaloids and cyanogenic compounds predominate. The number of dangerous plants species present in each institution varies from none to 45. Kindergartens have no landscaping plan and the majority of teachers ignore the existence of toxic plants. Appropriate actions integrating education, prevention and valuation of the natural environment are needed.
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    The transplanted Peruvian culture in Rome : An assessment through images
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Matos-Soto, Yarissa K. ; Savo, Valentina
    Peruvian immigrants in Rome represent a large community, creating microcosms where people retain strong interpersonal and family bonds. The aim of this photo essay is to portray, through images, some of the transplanted cultural aspects of Peruvians in Rome and to define the ethno-botanical uses of plants that are still present. An ethno-botanical study was carried out during Spring and Summer 2011 in the city of Rome with Peruvian migrants established in Italy for at least 10 years. We used a snowball sampling approach visiting local markets, restaurants and churches, performing semi-structured interviews about uses of medicinal and food plants. We looked for the presence of culturally important plant species, taking note of the maintenance, replacement, incorporation and discontinuation of ethno-botanical uses. A total of 21 informants were interviewed reporting the uses of medicinal and food plant species still present in Rome. Many plants are still used for medicinal (38 species) or food purposes (35 species), while fewer plants are used as nutraceuticals (7 species). Medicinal uses described are, sometimes, associated with rituals and spiritual convictions. The relatively high number of food species still present in Rome could be interpreted by the fact that they are more easily accessible and that some are cultivated in Italy. However, informants generally prefer plants that originate from Peru even if sometimes they found fault about the quality of imported plants. Peruvian immigrants were found to attempt to adhere to their cultural identity, in the use of plants, trying to conserve their pre-migratory traditions as much as they can.
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    Traditional medicinal plants in two urban areas in Kenya (Thika and Nairobi) : Diversity of traded species and conservation concerns
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Njoroge, Grace
    In Kenya there is a paucity of data on diversity, level of demand and conservation concerns of commercialized traditional medicinal plant species. A market study was undertaken in two urban areas of Central Kenya to identify species considered to be particularly important in trade as well as those thought to be scarce. The most commonly traded species include: Aloe secundiflora Engl, Urtica massaica Mildbr., Prunus africana (Hook.f.) Kalkm, Melia volkensii Gürke and Strychnos henningsii Gilg. Aloe secundiflora, P. africana and Strychnos henningsii were found to be species in the markets but in short supply. The supply chain in this area also includes plant species already known to be rare such as Carissa edulis (Forssk.) Vahl and Warburgia ugandensis Sprague. Most of the suppliers are rural herbalists (who harvest from the wild), while only a small proportion of the raw materials come from domesticated species. Key challenges facing the herbal industry in the region were identified and presented.
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    Ginkgo, apricot, and almond : Change of Chinese words and meanings from the kernel’s perspective
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Kirschner, Roland ; Hsieh, Shelley Ching-yu
    The term /apricot/ is associated with the fleshy part of the fruit in Chinese and European languages, such as English and German, whereas in Chinese /almond/ and /ginkgo/ are associated with a kernel removed from a hard shell and classified as nut-like. Historically, the modern Chinese for ginkgo, commonly translated as silver apricot replacing the older name meaning duck foot, has appeared only since the Song period (960-1279 AD). The apricot, however, has played an important role in Chinese for more than 2000 years. The element apricot which occurs in the contemporary Chinese term for gingko is considered to be derived in a technical terminology from the use in Chinese medicine of unshelled apricot seeds. In contemporary Chinese, the term xingren (unshelled apricot seed) has changed its meaning which now is unshelled almond seed. This change suggests that silver almond is a more adequate modern translation for ginkgo than silver apricot.
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    An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants in Asgede Tsimbila district, Northwestern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Zenebe, Girmay ; Zerihun, Mohammed ; Solomon, Zewdie
    Investigation and documentation of the status of medicinal plants and associated knowledge was conducted in Asgede Tsimbila district, northwestern Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Data was collected and evaluated with a questionnaire survey, semi-structured interviews, field observations, direct matrix ranking, preference ranking, abundance scores, and vegetation surveys. Sixty-eight medicinal plant species used to treat 50 different ailments (in humans and livestock) were recorded. Leaves are the most commonly collected plant parts for medicinal purposes. Much of the ethno-medicinal knowledge is concentrated in elderly members of the community. The medicinal plants are facing threats from agricultural expansion, wood extraction and overgrazing. Consequently, abundance of medicinal plant resources is declining with time. Furthermore, effort to conserve and cultivate medicinal plants is virtually non-existent. Thus, participation of the local people and awareness creation on sustainable utilization and management of these resources is vital.
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    Comparative analysis of indigenous knowledge on use and management of wild edible plants : The case of central East Shewa of Ethiopia
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Feyssa, Debela Hunde
    Quantitative ethnobotanical analysis of indigenous use and management practices of wild edible plants (WEPs) by transhumant and settled farmers was conducted to compare WEPs and associated indigenous knowledge (IK). Household interviews, key informant discussions, focus group discussions, field explorations and multistage direct matrix rankings were carried out to identify WEPs in six study sites of two districts in semiarid East Shewa, Ethiopia. Participant observations were made to identify local strategies of management of WEPs. The results showed that from 40 WEPs, 35 (87.5%) of them were also used for forage/fodder, and 37 (92.5%) for fuel wood. Forest is a common habitat for collection of these plants. Jaccard’s Similarity Coefficient of the three use categories were 44.2%, 46.9% and 45.6% respectively. No gender differentiation was observed regarding their knowledge of habitats of WEPs collection. 42.2% of transhumant informants attested that intergenerational transfer of IK is the responsibility of the entire community while in the case of settled farmers this is left to fathers and mothers (23.3%). There were significant variations in transferring IK (P<0.05) between the two communities. Transhumants conserve WEPs in pasture land and protect vegetation while settled farmers employ traditional dryland agroforestry, living fences and farm boarders. Study communities have significant variation in their preference for WEPs (P<0.05). The people showed greater preferences for five WEPs. The prioritized WEPs and associated IK and practices should be considered in planning conservation and sustainable use of WEPs by integrating the variations and complementing with appropriate modern practices.
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    Important woody plant species, their management and conservation status in Balawoli Sub-county, Uganda
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Tabuti, John R.S.
    Woody plant species are threatened in Uganda. To conserve these species there is need to generate information that may be used to design management plans. This study was conducted in Balawoli Sub-county, Kamuli District, Uganda between July 2009 and January 2010. We addressed four questions: (1) which woody species are most preferred? (2) what is the conservation status of these species and for which species have changes in local availability been observed? (3) what management practices exist for woody species? and (4) what tenure rights exist for woody plants? Data were generated through guided questionnaire interviews. Seventeen species are valued most within the community. These species are multipurpose and altogether have 25 different uses for the community. The most frequently harvested products are edible fruits, firewood and timber. The value of these species as a source of income is low. Milicia excelsa (Welw.) C.C. Berg, Albizia coriaria Welw. ex Oliv., Combretum molle R. Br. ex G. Don, Terminalia glaucescens Planch. ex Benth., Coffea spp., Combretum collinum Fresen. and Citrus spp. are becoming scarce. However, Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam., Mangifera indica L., Ficus natalensis Hochst., Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck, Acacia sp., Senna siamea (Lam.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby, Eucalyptus spp., Pinus spp., Carica papaya L. and Lantana camara L. are increasing in abundance. The main factors leading to the scarcity of some species include over-harvesting, destructive harvesting, pests, poor planting of trees by farmers, and droughts. The key factors contributing to some species’ success are that the species are planted, drought resistant, regenerate naturally, easy to manage, mature fast, available as seedlings. Farmers maintain 51 woody species that they plant or retain when found growing naturally on their land. Some farmers are constrained in planting trees by lack of seedlings, pest infestations, drought and lack of land. Species are managed in crop fields, the courtyard and home garden. Men own trees in the homestead, are more involved in tree management and selling of tree products, than women.
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    Ethnomedicinal uses of Sthalavrikshas (temple trees) in Tamil Nadu, southern India
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Gunasekaran, Mariappan ; Balasubramanian, P.
    Worship of plants is practiced throughout the world and is well established from pre-historic periods in India. In Tamil Nadu state, India this customary practice follows with religious faiths and culture. One such religious worship is known as Sthalavriksha (sthal: locality, vriksha: tree) in temples. Very few field studies have been conducted on Sthalavriksha practice and its role in social, ecological and environmental impacts of local people. In particular, ethnomedicinal uses on Sthalavrikshas, occurring in the temples of Tamil Nadu have been unexplored. A survey was conducted at 1165 ancient temples of the state and revealed the occurrence of 112 plant species during 2002-2006. At the time of study, several ethnomedicinal uses of 101 Sthalavriksha species were recorded by both direct observations and referred to by devotees, priests and Nattuvaidyas (traditional healers) in the temples.
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    Olonā (Touchardia latifolia Gaud.) : Cultivating the wild populations for sustainable use and revitalization of cultural Hawaiian practices
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Wichman, Juliana Mikioi
    Olonā (Touchardia latifolia Gaudich.) is an endemic Hawaiian plant used by the Hawaiians to make some of the strongest cordage in the world. Within the ahupua'a of Hā'ena on Kaua'i, there are wild populations of olonā growing however, no one knows how to manage or prepare the fibers. Due to the mission of Limahuli Garden to perpetuate traditional cultural knowledge as well as to grow and perpetuate native Hawaiian cultural plants, a long-term project to cultivate and teach community members sustainable use of olonā will not only strengthen the community, but perpetuate a traditional Hawaiian skill, which is slowing being lost. Within the scope of this experiment, I specifically looked at three populations to determine which growing conditions produced the strongest cordage. I hypothesized that Limahuli Valley has cultivatable olonā and ideal growing condition would produce plants that had stronger fibers. Collecting individuals from three different growing conditions, a modified tensile strength test was designed and two ply cordage of 25 cm long, comprised of 6, 12 and 24 individual fibers refuted my hyposthesis, but lead me to re- hypothesize that stem diameter (age of plant) rather than environmental growing conditions effect the fiber strength. I concluded that Limahuli Valley has a good population of olonā, which if managed properly, stronger fibers can be obtained and lead to the establishment of a successful community population.
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    Ethnobotany of some selected tree species in Southwest Cameroon
    (Botany Department, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2012) Egbe, Andrew Enow ; Tabot, Pascal Tabi ; Fonge, Beatrice Ambo
    An ethnobotanical investigation was carried out in 12 villages in Manyu and Fako Divisions, South-western Cameroon to determine economic potentials and priorities of eight non-timber forest products (NTFPs) tree species and three tree crops. Gross farmer income in Manyu was found to be 30% from NTFPs and 70% from established tree crops, while in Fako it was 15% and 85% respectively. The yield of tree crops (160-1047 kg/farmer/year) was higher than NTFPs (0.3-273kg/farmer/year). Some 21 diseases were treated using 10 tree species. Farmers assigned highest priority  for NTFPs to Irvingia gabonensis (Aubry-Lecomte ex O’Rorke) Baill., Ricinodendron heudelotii (Baill.) Heckel, Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) H.J.Lam, Irvingia wombolu Vermoesen, Cola lepidota K. Schum.  and Garcinia kola Heckel for their cultural and medicinal values implying potential need for their conservation.