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.