2004 - Volume 2 : Ethnobotany Research and Applications

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    How 'Awa Travels the World
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2004) Weaver, Kia
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    Crops and Cultures in the Pacific: New Data and New Techniques for the Investigation of Old Questions
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2004) Pickersgill, Barbara
    Fifty years ago Carl Sauer suggested, controversially and on the basis of theory rather than evidence, that South-east Asia was the source area for agriculture throughout the Old World, including the Pacific. Since then, the archaeobotanical record (macroscopic and microscopic) from the Pacific islands has increased, leading to suggestions, also still controversial, that Melanesia was a center of origin of agriculture independent of South-east Asia, based on tree fruits and nuts and vegetatively propagated starchy staples. Such crops generally lack morphological markers of domestication, so exploitation, cultivation and domestication cannot easily be distinguished in the archaeological record. Molecular studies involving techniques such as chromosome painting, DNA fingerprinting and DNA sequencing, can potentially complement the archaeological record by suggesting where species which were spread through the Pacific by man originated and by what routes they attained their present distributions. A combination of archaeobotanical and molecular studies should therefore eventually enable the rival claims of Melanesia versus South-east Asia as independent centers of invention of agriculture to be assessed.
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    Survey of Medicinal Plants in the Main US Herbaria
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2004) Flaster, Trish
    Plant identification has been waning during the recent expansive study of medicinal plants. This has been particularly true among manufacturers of products being marketed for natural heath care sectors. In an attempt to understanding to why basic plant identification is lacking, an inventory of the main US herbaria was completed in 2002. The inventory included plants that are commonly in use for medicinal purposes and those considered as adulterants. The results identify the plants found in each herbarium collection, access to the collections, and future plans of the herbaria for virtual (computer based) access to the collections. Recommendations are made for usage of virtual herbaria and expanded usage of traditional herbaria for identification of plants used in health care.
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