ETHNOBOTANY an Introduction



ANT 393    (30630)               Brian Stross                


Wednesday 7-10pm  EPS 1.128


Office Hours  TTH 11:00-12:00 noon                                         EPS 2.204






Ethnobotany, an interdisciplinary field, studies the relationships between humans and

plants.  It is not simply the study of plants that are useful to humans, but rather includes

the placement of plants within their total cultural context in particular societies, and also

the placement of peoples within the ecological contexts that include their plant friends,

neighbors, and adversaries.   It includes the ways that humans perceive the different kinds

of plants, the ways they classify plants, the things they do to plants (such as destroying

"weeds", protecting certain "wild" plants, and "domesticating" and planting specific kinds

of food and medicinal plants), and the ways in which various members of the plant world

influence humans and their lifeways.   This course proposes to introduce the student to

such general topics as systems of  plant classification and nomenclature, plants and

 archeaology, plant cultivation, food plants, medicinal plants, entheogenic plants and

divination, plants in cosmology and religion, plants in construction and furniture, plants

in clothing and ornament, plants in discourse, plants and the question of pre-Columbian

contacts, and the impact of humans on plants (including forest management).  These

topics will be explored in a seminar format and often exemplified from a perspective of

indigenous Mesoamerican communities.  No knowledge of botany, geography,

pharmacology, or anthropology is presupposed or required for participation in this



TEXTS   Required:      Paul E. Minnis  (Ed.) 2000.   Ethnobotany: A Reader. 
U. of Oklahoma Press    [PEM]


                                    Pollan, Michael    2001.   The Botany of Desire.  [BOD]  



               Recommended (no assignments given in these):  


                                    Michael J. Balick, Paul A. Cox  1997.  Plants, People and

Culture : The Science of Ethnobotany, a Scientific

American Library Book (Paperback Textbook, 1997) 


                                    Nabhan, Gary  2004.  Some Like it Hot.   Island Press      

ISBN  1-59726-091-6


Richard Evans Schultes & Siri von Reis  1995.  Ethnobotany:

Evolution of a Discipline.  Dioscorides Press/Timber Press

[RES]   GN 476.73 E84 1995 PCL Stacks


                                    Beryl Simpson and Olga Conner-Ogorzaly 1986, 1994, or 2000. 

                                                Economic Botany: Plants in Our World.


                                    Anthony Huxley. 1974.  Plant and Planet.   Viking Press.  [AH]


                                    Herbert G. Baker.  1970.  Plants and Civilization. 

Wadsworth  [HB]


                  Deborah Barndt.  2002 or 2007 Tangled Routes: Women, 

                                              Work, and Globalization on the Tomato Trail.  

                                              2007 ISBN-10: 0742555577, 2002 or

                                              ISBN-10: 0847699498 



Requirements:   Each student will be expected to write a brief research paper

(up to 20 pages) or a grant proposal for an original project on some aspect of

ethnobotany (10 pages or more),  and to make a brief oral presentation of the

research or proposal to the class.   The final written version of this project will

be due on the last day of class.   Keep up with weekly reading assignments, 

class participation including presentation of small topical research projects

(using only the internet).


This semester I would like to suggest a number of topics for discussion that we

might find profitable to explore in trying to understand the breadth and depth of the

topic of  Ethnobotany.    Please come to class prepared to discuss the topics of the week.

One person will take the role of facilitator each week, and will help facilitate the

discussion both of the current topic and of the assigned homework).


Notebook/Journal -   I would like all participants to keep a running record or journal

of insights, thoughts, and general notes about ethnobotany that occur in the course of

the semester.   I expect each of us to share observations during class time discussions

in a kind of show and tell experience-  such observations will be part of the notebook).


Internet -  It will be useful for all of us to explore the internet for sites dealing with

ethnobotany, keeping a record (with brief annotation of content) of URLs that have useful

information whether in the form of databases, articles, pictures, or other.    We can share

these by e-mail or in show-and-tell time during class.  


A typical class will involve

1.  a short introduction to the day's topic by the lecturer.  

2.  a short film presentation

3.  seminar discussion of the film and its implications for ethnobotany & the day's topic

4.  “show & tell”  -  each week each person will pick a plant (species, genus, or family)

               to do an internet search on, and to share in class

5.  discussion of the homework assigned


6.  seminar discussion of the day's topic -






                        what is botany, what is ethnobotany,  economic botany,  cultural

botany, comparative ethnobotanical studies  (plant domestication,

cultivation, origins of agriculture ( 2, 3, 6, ) (old world, new world),

weeds,  living abroad,  seeing the other

PLANTS AND FORENSICS  (e.g. the palo verde pod in the

pickup truck – DNA from seeds found in pickup truck bed

convicts murderer in Phoenix, AZ.;  coprolite analysis to see what

people ate;  Hussein's dates  (provide evidence that his capture

was staged);  Apatzingan maize found in jar in tomb; 

Rio Azul – chocolate found in drinking vessel)

                               Short film on the Mayo of Sonora, Mexico and their use of plants

Homework:  For Week 2, pick a society (or linguistic group)  anywhere

in the world, and search on the internet for botanical and ethnobotanical

information relating to that group.  Select material from the search and

be prepared to share it by oral presentation in class (2-5 minutes—this

kind of show & tell, or expo from journal will be a regular part of each

week);  Read [PEM]  Minis, Introduction;  Fowler, Ethnoecology: an

introduction;   Seri Cactus Stones (url  e-mail);   Manioc – Archaeology

and language (url e-mail)  

Optional:  [RES] Part 1 (23-74);  Huxley Chs. 1-2 (The Planet Sharers,

The Ways of Change);  M. Walter Pesman  Meet Flora Mexicana.  

(G. Lawrence, An Introduction to Plant Taxonomy);   [HB] Ch. 2;

Barthel, Mourning and consolation:… (handout);  Bowles, Notes

On a floral form represented in Maya Art and its Iconographic Implications

(handout).  Heather Miller Coyle Forensic Botany: Principles and

Applications to Criminal Casework (2004).  ,  (bib), 




Paleoethnobotany; phytoliths, palynalysis,

microcolonial fungi,

identification and interpretations of plants in ancient iconography

and literature (e.g. Popol Vuh and Cacao).

Zidar-Ancient Maya Botanical Research (FAMSI)

                               Short Film:  SOL - Garlic

                               Homework: Read for Week 3:  Zarger, Botanical Knowledge

                                              (e-mail url);  Pollan, Introduction and Ch.2  (Tulips)             

Optional:  [RES] Part 10 (391-405), Part 3 (93-130);  Deborah Pearsall

2000 Paleoethnobotany (second edition); Nina Etkin (ed.)1994.

Eating on the Wild Side (chapters 10, 11);    



                                               TECHNIQUES     2/4         Amber

                        Plant specimen collection and preservation -

field collections, plant press, plant trail identifications, oral narratives

(folktales, origin myths, legends),  other discourse genres (e.g. “counting

                        out formulae” – e.g.  “one potato, two potato…”), participation in plant

                        acquisition trips and agricultural work, direct interviews.

ACQUISITION OF PLANT KNOWLEDGE  by children, by adults,

                               by botanists and anthropologists

                        INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS   -  rainforest plants ,

    bitter remedies,   biodiversity and intellectual property 

                               Short Film :   SOL - Chilies

                               Homework:  Read for week 4:   [PEM] Ch. 10, 11

                        Optional:  [Lipp in RES]);  Stross  (1973 "Acquisition of Botanical

                        Terminology by Tzeltal Children");  J. Dougherty 1979 ("Learning

                        names for plants and plants for names" Anthropological Linguistics



WEEK 4        BOTANY  [western]     2/11          Sontee

(western concepts:  scientific and folk nomenclature;  keys)

Linnaean Plant Classification, Plant taxonomy.

Methods in the study of plant evolution, 

                               domain (Eukaria [animals, fungi, plants inc. algae], Bacteria,


                               kingdom (Animals, Fungi, Plants [inc. algae], Eubacteria,


                               division, class, order, family,

                               genus, species, variety

Fungi kingdom (fungus, breadmolds & yeasts) [closer to animals

                      than to plants based on DNA] 

Plantae -  kingdom (plants)  [now includes old plants & red & green


     algae (red & green)




     bryophytes [mosses],



     gymnosperms (Pinophyta) [conifers, cycads, ginkgo],

     angiosperms (magnoliophyta) [flowering plants]

                                              liliopsida (monocots)  60,000

                                              magnoliopsida (dicots)  200,000

Evolutionary adaptations of plants.    Leaves

Flowers, flower meanings (differentiating botany culture from

       Lay culture)

stems, roots, nutrients, 

                               Botanical terminology.  

                                              photosynthesis (p2), cell structure, plant tissues,

                                              respiration, mitosis & meiosis,  ecology & ecosystem

Plant Identification -  keys,  vocabulary, glossary


                        Short Film:   SOL  Cloves

                        Homework: Read for Week 5, [PEM]  Part 2 (65-142);           

       Frake "Ethnographic study of cognitive systems" in S. Tyler [ed.]

                               Cognitive Anthropology;   Roy Ellen "Putting plants in their place"

                                              (see ethnobotany link in week 1 of syllabus)

 Optional:  Breedlove and Laughlin, The Flowering of Man; 

Huxley Ch. 3, 4 (From Cell To Tree, The final Flowering);

V. Schlesinger Animals & Plants of The Ancient Maya;




                        (naming and classifying -  non-western concepts)

                               Short film:   Private Life of Plants 1 (traveling)

                               Homework:  For Week 6, read:  PEM Part One, Chs 1, 2, 3 and

                               Ch 14; Alcorn (TBA)

Optional:  Berlin, Brent. 1973. "Folk systematics in relation to

biological classification and nomenclature." Ann. Rev. Ecol.

Syst. 4: 259-271; Berlin, Brent et al.1992. Ethnobiological

Classification: Principles of Categorization of Plants and

Animals in Traditional Science;  W.J. Stearns, Stearns

Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners; 

Huxley, Chs. 8, 9 (Eccentric and Bizarre, The Flower);

                                              Berlin et. al, Principles of Tzeltal Plant Classification

                                              (ch. 1-6).


WEEK 6    STAGES OF PLANT GROWTH     2/25    Sontee

                   (life cycles of plants -  maize, beans, and squash;

                   forest fires; calendar cycles; intercropping)


                   CULTIVATION & PROTECTION(Coke insecticide)

                   FOREST MANAGEMENT  the outdated notion of climax forest;

                               cleared earth and weeds;


                               Cuba’s gardens or 2

                  GUERRILLA  GARDENING  (e.g. here, or here, or here)

                               Short Film:   Private Life of Plants  2 (putting down roots)

Homework:  For week 7 Prepare for the topic by using the

       Internet to research native vs. introduced plants, pre-Columbian

       plant contacts.

                        Optional:  R.B. Yepson Jr. (ed.) 1976.  Organic Plant

Protection. Rodale Press;  Huxley, Chs. 5, 6, 7  (The

Great Invention, Nature the Engineer, The Power Station), 

Huxley, Ch 10 (Growth and Rhythm);   Sorenson,



                       new world plants  (vs. old world plants)  Mesoamerican flora,

Vavilov (plant origins and dispersal)

                       NATIVE vs INTRODUCED plants

       (cacti / Euphorbiacae, Bromeliacae),  bromeliad in Africa (Pitcairnia), 

       prickly pear in middle east (Opuntia)?, sweet potato, coconut, cotton.

                               Short Film:  Private Life of Plants 3  ( Flowering )

                               Homework:  for Week 8, read:   A. McDonald 2002.  "Botanical

                               determination of the Middle Eastern Tree of Life."  Economic

       Botany 56:113-129;  Stross  copal ;

                               Optional:  Riley, Kelley, Pennington, and Rands (eds.)  Man Across

       the Sea: Problems of Precolumbian Contacts.  Section III pp.

       309-444.  V. Schlesinger 2002.  Animals & Plants of the Ancient

       Maya:  A Guide.    [HB] Ch. 4;  Balick and Cox pp. 141-143. 


WEEK 8 PLANTS IN RELIGION     3/11       Will

       religious usage (divination, shamanistic curing [tobacco]);  talking

 plants; plant offerings to deity (incense, including frankincense,

 myrrh, copal);  rubber ball game in Mesoamerica (Castilla elastica

& Ipomoea alba); sacred and symbolic plants (hoja santa, Plumeria);

decoration of altars, doorways, and crosses (bromeliads);  plants in

creation narratives;  plants for death  (marigold ladder to heaven),

birth, other life crisis rituals;  souls (maize spirit is a little girl w/

bloody nose).   [CHR  corn god, bean goddess.  Plants as axis mundi

(date palm, maize, ceiba)]

                               PLANTS IN ART AND ARCHITECTURE e.g. murals, sculpture,

                               codices, buildings, indoor plants for decoration and air freshening,


                               Short Film:   Private Life of Plants 4   (Plant Politics)

       Homework:  for week 9, read:  Pollan, Ch. 3

       Optional:  [RES] (131-146);   Michael F. Brown, Tsewa's Gift

       pp. 88-132 (Peruvian Amazon); Huxley Ch. 12 (Do Plants Feel);

                              Stross: 1996 "The Cosmic Portal in Mesoamerica: an Early

                              Zapotec Example" RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 29/30:82‑101. 


(Spring break  3/16-21)       


WEEK 9        ENTHEOGENS    3/25    Nick

Entheogens / Psychoactive plants   (identifications; 

soma as mushroom, soma as lotus; ololiuhqui) ,  peyote,

mushrooms (Amanita muscaria, Psilocybe), tobacco, ayahuasca,

water lily (Nymphaea), Salvia divinorum (also S. divinorum),  Datura,

Datura links,  sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia), beach beans (Canavalia

maritima),  axocatzin (Sida acuta)

Gordon Wasson (on peyote, mushrooms, tobacco and Ololiuhqui)

                               Short Film:   Private Life of Plants 5  (living together)

                        Homework:  for Week 10, read:   [PEM] Part 3, Introduction, &

                               Chs. 7, 8;  

                               Optional:  [RES] (343-361, 369-384, 385-392);  E.F. Anderson,

                               Peyote: the Divine Cactus;  D.L. Spess, Soma: The Divine

                               Hallucinogen. Ralph Metzner (ed), Sacred Vine of Spirits:

                               Ayahuasca;  Ralph Metzner (ed), Sacred Mushroom of Visions:

                               Teonanacatl;  Peter Furst (ed), Flesh of the Gods;  

                                         Optional Reference Resource:  Jonathan Ott, Pharmacotheon:

                               Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History.  

                               Christian Ratsch, The Encyclopedia Of Psychoactive Plants.

                        PLANTS AND POWER

                               Plants in war – what part do they play

                               Power and the control of plants (e.g.  olives, 2;  fruit trees;

                               date palms;  planting trees;  planting trees controversial)


WEEK 10      PLANTS AND HEALTH     4/1        Will

                               Curing by divination with plants (for cause and cure)

                               Curing by use of plants/herbs with “pharmacological”

properties  (Herbweb ,  People’sRX);

Curing by use of plants with “symbolic” properties

(for sweeping, baths, wearing)

Community Gardens & physical and mental health


poison oak, curare)

                               Short Film:  Aprendiz del Chiman                    

                       Homework, for Week 11, read: Pollan, Chs 1 & 4   (apples, potatoes)

[PEM] , Part Four, Agriculture: An Introduction;  Stross, Maize.

Optional:  [RES] (289-342, 362-368);   [HB] Ch. 13: 

N. Etkin 1994.  EatingOn the Wild Side Chs. 2, 8, 9, 12;  

S. Orellana, Indian Medicine in Highland Guatemala; 

V. Vogel, American Indian Medicine;  J. Wilbert,

Tobacco and Shamanism in South America.

                                              Herbalgram 27 (Special Issue—New World Medicinal


                               Herbalgram 34:44-55 ("Medicinal Plants of the Tarahumara"); 

22-27 +  ("Ma Huang: Ancient Herb, Modern Medicine,

Regulatory Dilemma"); L. Bremness, Herbs;  Joie Davidow,

Infusions of  Healing: A Treasury of Mexican-American

Herbal Remedies.   A. DeStefano 2001.  Latino Folk Medicine;

Heinerman, New Encyuclopedia of Fruits and Vegetables. 

Parker Publishing Co.Van Wyk & Wink, Medicinal Plants of

the World


WEEK 11       FOOD PLANTS      4/8      Casey

plant domestication (wild / domesticated distinction, wild useful

[protected, unprotected]; old world vs. new world food plants);

agriculture (the milpa: maize, beans, squash), interplanting, 

 companion planting; mixed planting/cropping. 

grains (maize, wheat, barley),   seeds,    nuts,

                               Short Film:    The Future of Food   1    

                       Homework: for Week 12 read:   [PEM] Chs. 9-13;  Nabhan  Chs 1-4

Optional:  [RES] ;  [HB] Ch. 1;   Sophie Coe, America's First Cuisines

(ch. 1-9);  N. Foster & L. Cordell, Chilies to Chocolate;  J.N. Cole, 1979.

                               GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANTS


WEEK 12       FOOD PLANTS     4/15       Amber

       (vegetables, horticulture, edible "weeds" (Portulaca oleracea


       famine foods (Oxalis,  Brosimum alicastrum, Dioscorea),

       fruits Morton's fruits of warm climates link ; (black zapote;

       matasano; chicozapote);   perceptions about food plants;

                               Short Film   The Future of Food   2

                        FLAVORINGS, CONDIMENTS, AND SWEETENERS  (spices)


                               Homework:  for week 13 read:  Nabhan  Chs 5-8;  Vanilla - Bruman

                               Optional:  Cole, Amaranth: From the Past, For the Future.  Rodale

                               Press; [HB] Ch. 5, 6;                            


WEEK 13       DRINK PLANTS     4/22       Nick

       classification (e.g.  medicinal, food beverage, alcoholic);   herbal

       teas, coffee, cacao,  maize (atole, pozole, pinole, popo), juices,

       licuados,  alcoholic beverages – agave (pulque, mescal, tequila),

       honey beer (balché),  sprouted maize beer (tesgüino, sugiki),

       pineapple beer (tepache), plums (wine), pitahaya (wine),

       cornstalk (beer), sugar cane (beer, rum), grapes (wine).

                               DRINK ADDITIVES:   yam (popo), chocolate (popo),

       Acacia angustissima (bark fermenter catalyst - pulque), Lonchocarpus

                               longistylus/violaceus (mild euphoric, alcohol potentiator - balché)

                               Short Film:   Private Life of Plants 6   (surviving)

                               Optional:  Bruman, Alcohol in Ancient Mexico.  Herbalgram 37:50-55

(Chocolate: Past, Present and Future of Cacao); 

Herbalgram  37:33-40 (Rediscovering Tea);

                                              [HB] Ch. 9, 10;


WEEK 14              PLANTS FOR CLOTHING  (fiber, leaves, stems)    4/29  

       palms, reeds, agave, cotton, pineapple

       PLANTS FOR ORNAMENT  (seeds, flowers, resin)

                                     (coral bean [tzompantle], hibiscus) face & body paint, dye

                               Short Film:  

                               Readings:  [PEM] Ch 2 ;  [HB]  Ch. 3, 7, 12, 14

       Optional:  Herbalgram 29:26-33;    



(lumber, tying fiber, firewood, living fences, awnings)

                               PLANTS FOR SITTING, SLEEPING and TRAVELING

                                     ( petates, rugs, chairs, blankets, beds, cradles, hammocks, sails)

                               PLANTS FOR FORAGE, TANNING, TOOLS, GUMS and

RESINS  (handles, batons, glue, chewing gum, incense)

                               PLANTS FOR CONTAINING, WRAPPING, WIPING,

and SWEEPING.  (twine, cord, rope, baskets, brooms)

                               PLANTS FOR SOAP, DYES  (soap, dye, insect repellant)

                               Film:  Farmer John  or  Secret Life of Plants  (or alternative film)







Alcorn, Janis    1984  Huastec Maya Ethnobotany.  (San Luis Potosí, Mexico)

F 1221 H8 A42 1984 Benson Latin American Collection

F 1221 H8 A42 1984 Life Science Library
GN 476.73 A42 1984 Center for American History TXC-ZZ


Berlin, Brent, Breedlove, Dennis and P.H. Raven  1974.  Principles of Tzeltal

plant classification: an introduction to the botanical ethnography

                               of a Mayan-speaking people of highland Chiapas.  (Chiapas, Mexico) 

F 1221 T8 B47 Benson Latin American Collection

F 1221 T8 B47 Benson Latin American Collection


Breedlove, Dennis and Robert Laughlin  1999.  The Flowering of Man: Botany of

Zinacantán. (Chiapas, Mexico)  F 1221 T9 B733 1993 V.2 Benson

Latin American Collection  GN 1 S54 NO.35 PT.1 PCL Stacks


Bruman, Henry.   2000.  Alcohol in Ancient Mexico.   University of Utah Press.


Clark, Phil. 1972.  A Flower Lover's Guide to Mexico.  Minutiae Mexicana.


Davidow, Joie.  1999.  Infusions of Healing:  A Treasury of Mexican-American Herbal



Ebeling, Walter  1986.     Handbook of Indian Foods and Fibers of Arid America.

E 78 W5 E34 1986 PCL Stacks
E 78 W5 E34 1986 Benson Latin American Collection


Felger, Richard S.  1985.  People of the Desert and Sea : Ethnobotany of the Seri Indians.

(Sonora, Mexico)  F 1221 S43 F45 1985 Benson Latin American

Collection  (F 1221 S43 F45 1985 Life Science Library)


González, Roberto J.   2001.  Zapotec Science:  Farming and Food in the Northern

                               Sierra of Oaxaca.  University of Texas Press.


Griffith, R. Drew.  2008.  Mummy Wheat:  Egyptian Influence on the Homeric View

                              Of the Afterlife and the Eleusinian Mysteries. 


Heffern, Richard.   1974.  Secrets of the Mind-Altering Plants of Mexico.  Pyramid



Jordan, Julia A.  2008.  Plains Apache Ethnobotany.  U. of Oklahoma Press.


McAndrews Gina Marie. 1995.   Utilization of Medicinal Plant Species in the Zapotec

       Community of Yatzachi el Bajo, Oaxaca, Mexico.  Unpublished MA

       Thesis, Iowa State University.  See at: (no longer)


Nolan, Justin M.  2007.  Wild Harvest in the Heartland:  Ethnobotany in Missouri’s Little

                                Dixie.  University Press of America.


Orellana, Sandra L.  1987.  Indian Medicine in Highland Guatemala: the Pre-Hispanic

and Colonial Periods. (Highland Guatemala)

F 1435.3 M4 O74 1987 Benson Latin American Collection


Pesman, M. Walter  1962.  Meet Flora Mexicana. 


Reko, Blas Pablo   1945.   Mitobotanica Zapoteca.  (Oaxaca, Mexico)

G580.144 R279M Benson Latin American Collection


Roys, Ralph L.  1931, 1976.   The Ethno-Botany of the Maya. (Yucatan, Mexico)

F 1435.3 M4 R7 1976 Benson Latin American Collection
F 1435.3 M4 R7 1976 Life Science Library


Schlesinger, Victoria.  2001.  Animals & Plants of the Ancient Maya: A Guide. 

                               U.T. Press.


Tapia, Fermin   1978-80.  Etnobotanica de los Amuzgos.  2 vols. Centro de

                               Investigaciones Superiores del INAH  Cuadernos de la Casa Chata.

                               14, 28 .  Contents: pt. 1. Los Arboles -- pt. 2. Los bejucos, zacates,

                               yerbas y otras plantas. (Guerrero, Mexico)  F 1221 A58 T36 1978

                               Benson Latin American Collection

Weiss, Janna    1998.  Diagnostic concepts and medicinal plant use of the Chatino

       (Oaxaca, Mexico) with a comparison of Chinese medicine. (U.T.

       doctoral Dissertation -  Diss 1998 W436 PCL at Periodicals Desk;

       Digital version accessible at:


Williams Linera, Maria Guadalupe.   1980.  Estudio Etnobotanico de Algunas plantas

       Rituales Utilizadas por un Curandero de Santiago Tuxtla, Veracruz.

       F 1219.1 V47 W54 1980 Benson Latin American Collection


Yetman, David and Thomas R. Van Devender.  2002.  Mayo Ethnobotany:  Land,

                               History and Traditional Knowledge in Northwest Mexico.  U. of

                               California Press.





Carmack, Robert.  l98l.  The Quiche Mayas of Utatlan


Dow, James  1986.  The Shaman's Touch: Otomí Indian Symbolic Healing.


Guiteras-Holmes, Calixta.  1961.  Perils of the Soul: The World View of a Tzotzil Indian


Kennedy, John G.  l978.   Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre.


Lipp, Frank  1991.  The Mixe of Oaxaca.


Madsen, William.  l96O.  The Virgin's children:  Life in an Aztec Village Today.


McGee, R. Jon  1990  Life, Ritual and Religion Among the Lacandonn Maya.


Monaghan, John.  1995.  The Covenants With Earth and Rain: Exchange, Sacrifice, and

Revelation in Mixtec Sociality.


Parsons, Elsie Clews.  l936.  Mitla: Town of the Souls.


Pennington, Campbell W. l963. The Tarahumara of Mexico: TheirEnvironment and

Material Culture.


Pennington, Campbell W.  1969.  The Tepehuan: Their Material Culture.


Redfield, Robert, and A. Villa Rojas.  l934.  Chan Kom: A Maya Village.


Sandstrom, Alan R.   1991.  Corn Is Our Blood:  Culture and Ethnic Identity in

a Contemporary Aztec Indian Village.


Wisdom, Charles.  l94O.  The Chorti Indians of Guatemala.


Vogt, Evon Z.  l969.  Zinacantán


 Vogt, Evon Z.  1976.   Tortillas for the Gods. 






University of Texas Plant Resource Center        Flora of Texas Database Search


World Information Network on Biodiversity – Mexican Flora  click on "access to the information"


Plants of Central Texas   a course


Plants for a Future    database of 7,000 + plants w/ various uses    home page


Guide to Botanical Resources on the Internet


Links to selected botanical websites


More links to selected botanical websites


Michael Moore's Southwest School of Botanical Medicine in Bisbee, AZ


Database of California flora, including excellent photos


Native Texas Plants database from LBJ Wildflower Center


Endemic Texas Plants Checklist (TAMU)


Texas "Useful Wild Plants" org


Ancient Maya Botanical Research     FAMSI


Economic Botany    the journal


Ethnopharmacology    International Society for Ethnopharmacology


Listing of Useful Plants of the World


California Edible Plants


Plants for a Future (Edible Ornamental Plants) 


Purdue's Crop Plants, index


TAMU Vascular Plant Image Library


MissouriPlants Species list - images


Wildflowers of Tucson, AZ - images


DMOZ   Open Directory Project - Ethnobotany


Online Botany Index          glossary terminology w/ links


Plant Links


Worldwide Plant Family ID Key


Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages  -  117 spices, names, history, chemistry


Ineresting Ethnobotany site with pictures of unusual plants


USDA plant files (example & search)


Urban Harvest – Food Plants - Vegetables


Maize  (Ricardo Salvador)


Useful Wild Plants  of Texas (UWP)  Austin Based


American Botanical Council    Herbalgram  (Mark Blumenthal)



Intellectual Property Rights:


For information regarding specific case of disputed intellectual property rights, see URLs below:

Dr. Brent Berlin's defense of Maya ICBG project in Chiapas.

Further defense of ICBG project: Code of Ethics

Announcement of Maya ICBG project cancellation





The Private Life of Plants      (David Attenborough series of 6 hour long tapes)

               1.  Traveling

               2.  Putting Down Roots   -   Feeding and Growing

               3.  Flowering

               4.  Plant Politics  -  The Social Struggle

               5.  Living Together

               6.  Jungle Out There - Surviving


The Secret Life of Plants        (unreleased film w/ musical score by Stevie Wonder)


Mayo of Sonora       (David Yetman's film about the Mayo ethnobotany) 26 min.


The Spice of Life Series – traces the history of spices and herbs over the centuries and into

present day kitchens.


Allspice, One Spice

Chilies: a Dash of Daring

Cinnamon, the Elegant Addition

Cloves: Natures Little Nails

Curry Around the World

Garlic's Pungent Presence

Herbs: Aromatic Influences

Mustard, the Spice of Nations

Nutmeg, Nature's Perfect Package

Pepper, the Master Spice

Peppercorns, Fresh Ground Flavor

Saffron, Autumn Gold

The Spices of India      


The Shaman's Apprentice  - charts ethnobotanist's Mark Plotkin’s discoveries in the

Amazon rainforest, and looks at the astonishing ability of native people to manage their

environment.   53 min


The Future of Food -  Deborah Koons Garcia - about GMOs & the future. 90 min.








Bibliography (Mesoamerican Ethnobotany) 


Bibliography 2  (Ethnobotany)




Related Links





Course description