| Author||C. Kalkman|
|Journal||Blumea - Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants|
|Abstract||In the first sentence of the Preface the elusive concept of ethnobotany is defined in a rather restricted way: “the study of the use of plants by indigenous people”, ‘indigenous’ obviously meaning non-Western and not technologically advanced. Most of the chapters in this book (or rather: the papers brought together in this Symposium volume) agree with the definition given: Banack on plants used in making boats and during voyages; Kirch on agricultural systems; Abbot on uses of seaweeds; Cox on medicinal plants; Lebot on the use of Piper methysticum; Ragone on Artocarpus altilis. These chapters contain interesting stuff, as well from the anthropological as from the botanical point of view. Most of them are also well-written. I found especially the chapter by Lebot a very readable assemblage of botany (including phytochemistry) and anthropology.|
Two of the chapters, however, do not follow the definition, since they do not stress the uses but the plants. This is not intended as a critique on the inclusion of the chapters, but as a critique on the definition which would make ethnobotany part of anthropology (a part for the study of which botanical knowledge is essential) instead of the interdisciplinary approach as stressed by most ethnobotanists. These chapters belong to the most relevant ones for the botanist.
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