2007 - Volume 5 : Ethnobotany Research and Applications

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    Blending Traditional and Western Medicine: Medicinal Plant Use Among Patients at Clinica Anticona in El Porvenir, Peru
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007) Bussmann, R.W. ; Sharon, D. ; Lopez, A.
    Medicinal plants have been used in Peru for millennia for a variety of uses, but, over the last century, modern technology has deterred the increased growth of this valuable knowledge. The present study attempts to look at a clinic in El Porvenir, on the north coast of Peru to discover what kind of medicines are preferred and the factors determining choices made. Previous studies have shown that medicinal plants still play an important role in treatment. However, the results of our study demonstrate that pharmaceutical medicine plays a larger role when compared to the use of medicinal plants. Thus, while many patients feel pharmaceutical medicine is faster and more effective, there are still a large number of plants that are commonly used by patients. As a result, there is evidence that more research in this area should be done in order to learn what factors determine medical choices and what factors might lead to an increase the use of medicinal plants.
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    Could Captain John Smith’s Mattoume Have Been Wild Rice?
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007) LaRoche, Germain
    An early English explorer of North America, Captain John Smith reported use of a wild food called mattoume by native inhabitants of Virginia. Botanical identification of mattoume has been a mystery. In an attempt to solve the mystery of which plant species Captain Smith observed, I compare the botanical descriptions of wild rice and several other possible species that were mentioned either in scholarly journals or in ethnobotanical literature as likely identifications of mattoume. It seems most likely that mattoume is maygrass, Phalaris caroliniana Walter, as the facts do not support an identification as wild rice.
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    Artificae Plantae: The Taxonomy, Ecology, and Ethnobotany of the Simulacraceae
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007) Bletter, Nat ; Reynertson, Kurt A. ; Runk, Julie Velasquez
    The Simulacraceae has long been ignored by traditional botanists despite the fact that this family of artificial plants represents one of the most economically important and geographically diverse groups. In this study, conducted over approximately six years, we elucidate the first full description and review of this fascinating taxon. The economics, distribution, ecology, taxonomy, paleoethnobotany, and phakochemistry of this widespread family are herein presented. We have recently made great strides in circumscribing this group, and collections indicate this cosmopolitan family has a varied ecology. This report delineates approximately 80 species in seventeen genera (Calciumcarbonatia, Celadonica, Conglomeratium, Dentumadhesivium, Ductusadhesivia, Granitus, Simulacra, Lignus, Metallicus, Papyroidia, Paraffinius, Photophyta, Plasticus, Polystyrin, Prophylactica, Silicus, and Textileria) and two tribes (Xenoideae and Simuleae). Continued work is expanding these numbers rapidly. Despite being genomically challenged plants, an initial phylogeny is proposed. In an early attempt to determine the ecological relations of this family, a twenty-meter transect has been inventoried from a Plasticus rain forest in Nyack, New York, yielding 49 new species and the first species-area curve for this family.
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    Purposive Sampling as a Tool for Informant Selection
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007) Tongco, Maria Dolores C.
    Informant selection is highly relevant for ethnobotanical research, as people are constantly looked upon for knowledge and information. The purposive sampling technique is a type of non-probability sampling that is most effective when one needs to study a certain cultural domain with knowledgeable experts within. Purposive sampling may also be used with both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. The inherent bias of the method contributes to its efficiency, and the method stays robust even when tested against random probability sampling. Choosing the purposive sample is fundamental to the quality of data gathered; thus, reliability and competence of the informant must be ensured.
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    Water Spinach (Ipomoea aquatica, Convolvulaceae): A Food Gone Wild
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007) Austin, Daniel F.
    Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) has been considered native to Africa, Asia, and the southwestern Pacific Islands. The herbs have been a medicinal vegetable in southern Asia since at least A.D. 300, and perhaps since 200 B.C. People still gather plants from the wild and cultivate them. With European arrival in these regions in the late 1400s, they became aware of this medicinal food and began carrying water spinach around the world. As with other transported plants, Europeans took along some common names and cultural uses. With the later migration of people from Asian countries to other parts of the world, the food was imported into new areas. Doubt persists as to where the species was domesticated. Data from uses as food, regions of cultivation, medicinal use, phylogenetic studies, common names, and pathogens suggest that water spinach was first cultivated in southeastern Asia. The plants may have been domesticated in China and India, but the data are equivocal. The vegetable sometimes escapes from cultivation to become an ecologically invasive weed.