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Abstract Detail

Economic Botany: Ethnobotany

Fulton, Susannah B.J. [1], Watson, Linda E. [1].

A Geographical Comparison of the Ethnobotany of Cochlospermaceae.

Cochlospermaceae has a classical pantropical distribution with species present in the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America, the West Indies, west and central Africa, Asia (mostly India), and northern Australia. It is composed of two genera, Amoreuxia Moçiño & Sessé ex DC (four species) and Cochlospermum Kunth (12 species). Since species of Cochlospermaceae are used by many cultures on different continents, it represents an ideal opportunity to compare human plant use of closely related plant species among people of distant geographic regions. We explored whether there was a tendency for closely related species to be used in similar ways throughout the wide distribution of the plant family. Data was collected through a literature review and ethnobotanical interviews. Of the 16 species of Cochlospermaceae, 11 species have multiple known ethnobotanical uses. Of these many uses, 21 of them are shared by two or more plant species. For example, seven species are used to treat skin ailments by different cultural groups on three different continents, five different species with different distributions are all used as a treatment for jaundice, and eight species from five different geographical regions are used for food. Closely related species of Cochlospermaceae being used by cultural groups of different geographic regions to treat the same illness, suggests that these species and other closely related species may contain active chemical compounds with potential biomedical value. Comparative ethnobotanical research may provide insight into how ethnobotanical knowledge is acquired and may offer new directions in the search for new plant-based medicines, products, and foods.

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1 - Miami University, Department of Botany, Oxford, Ohio, 45056, USA

medicinal plants
Food plants.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Ball Room & Party Room/SUB
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 12:30 PM
Number: PET004
Abstract ID:622

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