Ethnobotany: plants and people
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Millet and sauce: The uses and functions of querns among the Minyanka (Mali)

Millet and sauce: The uses and functions of querns among the Minyanka (Mali) | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it

The central role of grinding activities in the dietary practices of traditional agricultural populations can be approached from an ethnoarchaeological point of view. The comparison of ethnographic references raises the question whether the function and the socioeconomic context in which grinding slabs are used allow to assess issues related to conclusions drawn from archaeological contexts. Our discussion is based on the analysis of the manufacturing of grinding slabs, their use cycles and their social status in several Minyanka villages (Mali), providing useful references when examining the way in which archaeologists explain and interpret technological, functional and spatial observations. The typological and technical evolution and variability of querns results from a combination of several factors determined by the available raw materials, the skill of shaping techniques, the organisation of manufacturing and the transference of the function of grinding tools. But these factors alone cannot explain the encountered range of variation. Our study thus emphasises the very role of cultural aspects within these temporal and regional developments, and the impossibility of dissociating the use of a quern from its socio-economic context.


Via Dorian Q Fuller
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I'll need to read this one later.

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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, March 27, 2013 2:07 PM

Not the best edited paper, as the plant names are wrong, pearl is referred by two genus names (should be Pennisetum glaucum). Looking oast that some nice descriptions of millet grinding and use of groundstone.

Ethnobotany: plants and people
Plants and peoples and their interactions
Curated by Eve Emshwiller
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When Edible Plants Turn Their Defenses On Us

When Edible Plants Turn Their Defenses On Us | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Fruits and vegetables are undeniably important to a healthful diet. But there's another side to some of these plants that, thankfully, most people never see: the tiny amounts of toxin within them. Lucky for us, healthy human bodies are remarkably good at filtering out toxins from everyday foods.
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Subsistence mosaics, forager-farmer interactions, and the transition to food production in eastern Africa

Subsistence mosaics, forager-farmer interactions, and the transition to food production in eastern Africa | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
The spread of agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa has long been attributed to the large-scale migration of Bantu-speaking groups out of their west Central African homeland from about 4000 years ago. These groups are seen as having expanded rapidly across the sub-continent, carrying an ‘Iron Age’ package of farming, metal-working, and pottery, and largely replacing pre-existing hunter-gatherers along the way. While elements of the ‘traditional’ Bantu model have been deconstructed in recent years, one of the main constraints on developing a more nuanced understanding of the local processes involved in the spread of farming has been the lack of detailed archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological sequences, particularly from key regions such as eastern Africa. Situated at a crossroads between continental Africa and the Indian Ocean, eastern Africa was not only a major corridor on one of the proposed Bantu routes to southern Africa, but also the recipient of several migrations of pastoral groups from the north. In addition, eastern Africa saw the introduction of a range of domesticates from India, Southeast Asia, and other areas of the Indian Ocean sphere through long-distance maritime connections. The possibility that some Asian crops, such as the vegecultural ‘tropical trio’ (banana, taro, and yam), arrived before the Bantu expansion has in particular raised many questions about the role of eastern Africa's nonagricultural communities in the adoption and subsequent diffusion of crops across the continent. Drawing on new botanical and faunal evidence from recent excavations at a range of hunter-gatherer and early farming sites on eastern Africa's coast and offshore islands, and with comparison to inland sites, this paper will examine the timing and tempo of the agricultural transition, the nature of forager-farmerpastoralist interactions, and the varying roles that elements of the ‘Bantu package’, pastoralism, and nonAfrican domesticates played in local economies. This paper highlights the complex pathways and transitions that unfolded, as well as how eastern Africa links into a broader global picture of heterogeneous, dynamic, and extended transformations from forager to farmer that challenge our fundamental understanding of pre-modern Holocene societies

Via Dorian Q Fuller
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8A ArnonP's curator insight, March 13, 11:49 AM
This article is about the spread of argiculture in Africa. The spread of agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa was cause by the large-scale migration of Bantu-speaking groups out of their homeland in west Central Africa about 4,000 years ago, this is called the Bantu expansion. The Bantus explaned rapidly across the sub-continent, carrying packages for farming, metal-working, and potter, and largely replacing pre-exxisting hunter-gatheres along the way. While the elements of the Bantu model have been analyzed in recent years, one of the main problem the limit the developing a better understanding of the spread of farming. Situated at a corssroads between continental Africa and the Indian Ocean, eastern Africa was not only a major corridor on of the proposed Bantu routes to southern Africa, it was also a recipient of several migrations of groups of farmer from the north.
This article help me understand about Africa by telling me about the Bantu expansion that caused a large group of farmers to migrate from West Africa to southern Africa. This also help me understand African was advanced because 4,000 years ago, they had stuff for farming, metal-working, and pottery. I think that this topic is still a mystery because know one exactly know what caused the Bantu to migrate to souther Africa.  
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Diversification and Cultural Construction of a Crop -The case of glutinous rice

Diversification and Cultural Construction of a Crop -The case of glutinous rice | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Rice (Oryza) is one of the world’s most important and productive staple foods, with highly diverse uses and varieties. We use archaeobotany, culture, history, and ethnobotany to trace the history of the development of sticky (or glutinous) forms. True sticky rice is the result of a genetic mutation that causes a loss of amylose starch but higher amylopectin content. These mutations are unknown in wild populations but have become important amongst cultivars in East and Southeast Asia (unlike other regions). In the same region, other cereals have also evolved parallel mutations that confer stickiness when cooked. This points to a strong role for cultural history and food preparation traditions in the genetic selection and breeding of Asian cereal varieties. The importance of sticky rice in ritual foods and alcoholic beverages in East and Southeast Asia also suggests the entanglement of crop varieties and culturally inherited food traditions and ritual symbolism.

Via Dorian Q Fuller
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, June 15, 2016 6:07 AM
A review of the cultural importance of sticky rices throughout East and Southeast Asia with a model of their history that takes into account genetic evidence, archaeology, ancient history and the parallel evolution of other glutinous cereals like millets.
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Narrowing the harvest: Increasing sickle investment and the rise of domesticated cereal agriculture in the Fertile Crescent

Narrowing the harvest: Increasing sickle investment and the rise of domesticated cereal agriculture in the Fertile Crescent | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
For the first time we integrate quantitative data on lithic sickles and archaeobotanical evidence for domestication and the evolution of plant economies from sites dated to the terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene (ca. 12000–5000 cal. BCE) from throughout the Fertile Crescent region of Southwest Asia. We find a strong correlation in some regions, throughout the Levant, for increasing investment in sickles that tracks the evidence for increasing reliance on cereal crops, while evidence for morphological domestication in wheats (Triticum monococcum and Triticumdicoccum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) was delayed in comparison to sickle use. These data indicate that while the co-increase of sickle blades and cereal crops support the protracted development of agricultural practice, sickles did not drive the initial stages of the domestication process but rather were a cultural adaptation to increasing reliance on cereals that were still undergoing selection for morphological change. For other regions, such as the Eastern Fertile Crescent and Cyprus such correlations are weaker or non-existent suggesting diverse cultural trajectories to cereal domestication. We conclude that sickles were an exaptation transferred to cereal harvesting and important in signalling a new cultural identity of “farmers”. Furthermore, the protracted process of technological and agricultural evolution calls into question hypotheses that the transition to agriculture was caused by any particular climatic event.

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The Secret History of Cannabis in Japan | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

The Secret History of Cannabis in Japan | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it

According to Takayasu, the earliest traces of cannabis in Japan are seeds and woven fibers discovered in the west of the country dating back to the Jomon Period (10,000 BC – 300 BC). Archaeologists suggest that cannabis fibers were used for clothes – as well as for bow strings and fishing lines. These plants were likely cannabis sativa – prized for its strong fibers – a thesis supported by a Japanese prehistoric cave painting which appears to show a tall spindly plant with cannabis’s tell-tale leaves.

“Cannabis was the most important substance for prehistoric people in Japan. But today many Japanese people have a very negative image of the plant,” says Takayasu


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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 12, 2015 10:42 AM

Indeed, currently the earliest archaeobotanical evidence for Cannabis comes from Early Jomon Japan, at sites such as Torihama (ca. 5000 BC) and Okinoshima (ca. 8000 BC).

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Contesting the presence of wheat in the British Isles 8,000 years ago by assessing ancient DNA authenticity from low-coverage data

Contesting the presence of wheat in the British Isles 8,000 years ago by assessing ancient DNA authenticity from low-coverage data | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Contamination with exogenous DNA is a constant hazard to ancient DNA studies, since their validity greatly depend on the ancient origin of the retrieved sequences. Since contamination occurs sporadically, it is fundamental to show positive evidence for ...

Via Dorian Q Fuller
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, November 9, 2015 8:42 PM

This study models the expected decay patterns in 8000 year old wheat DNA and compares it that that reported from off the British coast earlier this year (http://archaeobotanist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/mesolithic-cereal-trade-in-europe.html). Turns out the sedimentary aDNA doesn't look to Mesolithic after all. Oops.

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Climate change threatens staple potato crop in high Andes - RTCC

RTCC Climate change threatens staple potato crop in high Andes RTCC The creation of the Potato Park dates back from 1997 when an NGO called Andes Association promoted the conservation of the indigenous heritage regarding local rights, livelihoods...

Via Luigi Guarino
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Las sesgadas teorías del hombre cazador y la mujer recolectora

Las sesgadas teorías del hombre cazador y la mujer recolectora | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it

Ideas y supuestos preconcebidos sobre cómo son o deberían ser las cosas dirigen nuestra mirada y la interpretación de los datos, observaciones, experimentos… y, en definitiva, lo que aceptamos como conocimiento verdadero


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Summary of the Internationl Rice Congress, with photos and videos

Summary of the Internationl Rice Congress, with photos and videos | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
In the blink of an eye, IRC2014 has come and gone. A week ago we were saying farewell to friends old and new, and getting set to leave Bangkok and return home. Was IRC2014 a success? The feedback w...

Via Mary Williams
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Mary Williams's curator insight, November 9, 2014 5:25 AM

I love this photo - the goldfish are a brilliant touch

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Brewery recreates 3,500-year-old Scandinavian alcohol

Brewery recreates 3,500-year-old Scandinavian alcohol | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
New research has found that ancient Scandinavians drank alcohol made from a combination of barley, honey, cranberries, herbs and grape wine.
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These studies on reconstructed beer recipes are always popular.

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Searching for the Amazon's Hidden Civilizations

Searching for the Amazon's Hidden Civilizations | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Statistical model predicts signs of agriculture in the rainforest
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Hat tip: Mario Rosina Barragán

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An Approach for Teaching Diversity

"A Dozen Suggestions for Enhancing Student Learning by Jim Winship

 

The key word in this title is "An"—this is "an approach" not "the approach" to teaching about diversity. The dozen suggestions here were derived from an extensive literature review, conversations with a number of people nationwide who are knowledgeable about the subject, the contributions of a dozen UWW faculty during a LEARN Center discussion group on "Teaching about Diversity, Teaching in Multicultural Contexts" in the Spring of 2003, and my own twenty-five-plus years of college teaching, twenty-two of these at UW-Whitewater. At UW-Whitewater, I teach a diversity course that draws students from all four colleges at the university and I also integrate diversity-related content and skill development in the social work courses I teach.

The following list of twelve suggestions is not exhaustive. They are ones that are supported by published literature on teaching for diversity, on effective college teaching, and are ones that both colleagues here at UW-Whitewater and I have found effective in teaching our undergraduate students. Faculty are encouraged to adopt those that fit with their discipline and teaching style, and adapt the exercises, simulations, and other materials on this website to their specific courses. The twelve suggestions are roughly sequential—starting with course planning and the start of a class, followed by ideas and approaches that can be used throughout a semester, ending with the importance of providing and receiving feedback."

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How Nikolay Vavilov, the seed collector who tried to end famine, died of starvation

How Nikolay Vavilov, the seed collector who tried to end famine, died of starvation | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Nikolay Vavilov collected more seeds, tubers and fruits than any person in history. Gary Paul Nabhan chronicled Vavilov's quest in Where Our Food Comes From.
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Poverty Plus A Poisonous Plant Blamed For Paralysis In Rural Africa (Cassava)

Poverty Plus A Poisonous Plant Blamed For Paralysis In Rural Africa (Cassava) | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Some African countries have long witnessed mysterious outbreaks of paralysis. Affected regions are poor and conflict-ridden, where people's main food is a bitter, poisonous variety of cassava.

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PLOS ONE: From Early Domesticated Rice of the Middle Yangtze Basin to Millet, Rice and Wheat Agriculture: Archaeobotanical Macro-Remains from Baligang, Nanyang Basin, Central China (6700–500 BC)

PLOS ONE: From Early Domesticated Rice of the Middle Yangtze Basin to Millet, Rice and Wheat Agriculture: Archaeobotanical Macro-Remains from Baligang, Nanyang Basin, Central China (6700–500 BC) | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Baligang is a Neolithic site on a northern tributary of the middle Yangtze and provides a long archaeobotanical sequence from the Seventh Millennium BC upto the First Millennium BC. It provides evidence for developments in rice and millet agriculture influenced by shifting cultural affiliation with the north (Yangshao and Longshan) and south (Qujialing and Shijiahe) between 4300 and 1800 BC. This paper reports on plant macro-remains (seeds), from systematic flotation of 123 samples (1700 litres), producing more than 10,000 identifiable remains. The earliest Pre-Yangshao occupation of the sites provide evidence for cultivation of rice ( Oryza sativa ) between 6300–6700 BC. This rice appears already domesticated in on the basis of a dominance of non-shattering spikelet bases. However, in terms of grain size changes has not yet finished, as grains are still thinner than more recent domesaticated rice and are closer in grain shape to wild rices. This early rice was cultivated alongside collection of wild staple foods, especially acorns ( Quercus/Lithicarpus sensu lato). In later periods the sites has evidence for mixed farming of both rice and millets ( Setaria italica and Panicum miliaceum ). Soybean appears on the site in the Shijiahe period (ca.2500 BC) and wheat ( Triticum cf. aestivum ) in the Late Longshan levels (2200–1800 BC). Weed flora suggests an intensification of rice agriculture over time with increasing evidence of wetland weeds. We interpret these data as indicating early opportunistic cultivation of alluvial floodplains and some rainfed rice, developing into more systematic and probably irrigated cultivation starting in the Yangshao period, which intensified in the Qujialing and Shijiahe period, before a shift back to an emphasis on millets with the Late Longshan cultural influence from the north.

Via Dorian Q Fuller
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 15, 2015 7:31 AM

An important archaeobotanical sequence from central China, which charts the rise and fall of millets versus rice in this regions between the Yangshao and the Shijiahe period. It also has a much earlier occupation (6300 BC) with non-shattering (domesticated) rice, which makes this earlier than evidence in the Lower Yangtze (or anywhere else at present), but presumably a separate domestication episode...

Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 15, 2015 7:33 AM

Important evidence for early domestication rice, which is highly non-shattering but still small-grained. This suggests these two trait may be evolving differentially in this region in contrast to the Lower Yangtze, but unfortunately we have no immediately earlier or later assemblages from the region to compare it with, so the extent to which this is a "dead end" or how it fits into a domestication trajectory remains to be determined.

Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, October 15, 2015 8:53 AM

Important evidence for early domestication rice, which is highly non-shattering but still small-grained. This suggests these two trait may be evolving differentially in this region in contrast to the Lower Yangtze, but unfortunately we have no immediately earlier or later assemblages from the region to compare it with, so the extent to which this is a "dead end" or how it fits into a domestication trajectory remains to be determined.

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Between China and South Asia: A Middle Asian corridor of crop dispersal and agricultural innovation in the Bronze Age

Between China and South Asia: A Middle Asian corridor of crop dispersal and agricultural innovation in the Bronze Age | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
The period from the late third millennium BC to the start of the first millennium AD witnesses the first steps towards food globalization in which a significant number of important crops and animals, independently domesticated within China, India, Africa and West Asia, traversed Central Asia greatly increasing Eurasian agricultural diversity. This paper utilizes an archaeobotanical database (AsCAD), to explore evidence for these crop translocations along southern and northern routes of interaction between east and west. To begin, crop translocations from the Near East across India and Central Asia are examined for wheat (Triticum aestivum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) from the eighth to the second millennia BC when they reach China. The case of pulses and flax (Linum usitatissimum) that only complete this journey in Han times (206 BC–AD 220), often never fully adopted, is also addressed. The discussion then turns to the Chinese millets, Panicum miliaceum and Setaria italica, peaches (Amygdalus persica) and apricots (Armeniaca vulgaris), tracing their movement from the fifth millennium to the second millennium BC when the Panicum miliaceum reaches Europe and Setaria italica Northern India, with peaches and apricots present in Kashmir and Swat. Finally, the translocation of japonica rice from China to India that gave rise to indica rice is considered, possibly dating to the second millennium BC. The routes these crops travelled include those to the north via the Inner Asia Mountain Corridor, across Middle Asia, where there is good evidence for wheat, barley and the Chinese millets. The case for japonica rice, apricots and peaches is less clear, and the northern route is contrasted with that through northeast India, Tibet and west China. Not all these journeys were synchronous, and this paper highlights the selective long-distance transport of crops as an alternative to demic-diffusion of farmers with a defined crop package.

Via Dorian Q Fuller
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Dorian Q Fuller's curator insight, June 15, 2016 8:50 AM
An updated treatment of the wider archaeological context of agricultural interchanges between East, West and South within which the hybrid origins of indica rice occurred.
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rice paradox: Multiple origins but single domestication in Asian rice | Molecular Biology and Evolution | Oxford Academic

rice paradox: Multiple origins but single domestication in Asian rice | Molecular Biology and Evolution | Oxford Academic | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
The origin of domesticated Asian rice (Oryza sativa) has been a contentious topic, with conflicting evidence for either single or multiple domestication of this key crop species. We examined the evolutionary history of domesticated rice by analyzing de novo assembled genomes from domesticated rice and its wild progenitors. Our results indicate multiple origins, where each domesticated rice subpopulation (japonica, indica, and aus) arose separately from progenitor O. rufipogon and/or O. nivara. Coalescence-based modeling of demographic parameters estimate that the first domesticated rice population to split off from O. rufipogon was O. sativa ssp. japonica, occurring at ∼13.1 – 24.1 kya, which is an order of magnitude older then the earliest archaeological date of domestication. This date is consistent, however, with the expansion of O. rufipogon populations after the Last Glacial Maximum ∼18 kya and archaeological evidence for early wild rice management in China. We also show that there is significant gene flow from japonica to both indica (∼17%) and aus (∼15%), which led to the transfer of domestication alleles from early-domesticated japonica to proto-indica and proto-aus populations. Our results provide support for a model in which different rice subspecies had separate origins, but that de novo domestication occurred only once, in O. sativa ssp. japonica, and introgressive hybridization from early japonica to proto-indica and proto-aus led to domesticated indica and aus rice.

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Ancient Oats Discovery Shows Cavemen Loved Carbs | The Plate

Ancient Oats Discovery Shows Cavemen Loved Carbs | The Plate | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Maybe the Paleo Diet should include a nice warm bowl of oatmeal. Strict followers of the fashionable “caveman” regimen shun starchy foods, sticking to breakfasts such as cold halibut with fruit and…

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Answering an Appeal by Mao Led Tu Youyou, a Chinese Scientist, to a Nobel Prize - The New York Times

Answering an Appeal by Mao Led Tu Youyou, a Chinese Scientist, to a Nobel Prize - The New York Times | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Dr. Tu was awarded the prize, shared with two other scientists, on Monday for the discovery of a drug that is now part of standard regimens to fight malaria.

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Forests that are sacred to local people are less likely to suffer deforestation, study suggests

Forests that are sacred to local people are less likely to suffer deforestation, study suggests | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Ippei & Janine Naoi "As sacred forests are found in many cultures around the world, there is some hope that, in addition to their cultural significance, the persistence of these values can make an important contribution to conservation of biodiversity."

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Un nuevo análisis descarta que los perros fueran domesticados en el Paleolítico

Un nuevo análisis descarta que los perros fueran domesticados en el Paleolítico | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it

La hipótesis de que los perros acompañaran al hombre mucho antes de la revolución neolítica recibe un duro golpe esta semana con la publicación de un trabajo en Scientific Reports que pone en duda los análisis anatómicos en los que se basaba. 


Via CRCiencia
Eve Emshwiller's insight:

Okay, not plants, but domestication.

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Kew’s 'codebreaker’ mourns his lily – Telegraph Blogs

Kew’s 'codebreaker’ mourns his lily – Telegraph Blogs | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it
Carlos Magdalena 'has done things no one else can do’ but a thief has put at risk his work to save a tiny, rare plant. Tom Chivers reports In a little warm puddle in rural Rwanda, a tiny flower used to grow; a water lily, barely half an inch across.
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Conservation, ethics, extinction, etc.

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To UW-Madison professor, there's nothing ordinary about vanilla

To UW-Madison professor, there's nothing ordinary about vanilla | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it

A UW-Madison expert on vanilla orchids crosses the world to ensure that the spice it produces remains a valuable agricultural product.

Madison— To Ken Cameron, vanilla is a lot sexier than its name implies.

The world's leading expert on the biology of vanilla orchids sees the popular spice, not as plain or ordinary, but as a beautifully complex and valuable commodity produced from the world's largest family of plants.

While bottles of vanilla extract fly off store shelves at this time of year as holiday bakers mix it into cakes, pies and cookies, vanilla is much more than a pastry chef's favorite spice.

Deodorants, household cleaners, popular brands of vodka, pill coatings, the finest perfumes, even Coke and Pepsi count vanilla as an ingredient. And, of course, it's the No. 1 selling ice cream.

"I often tell people, 'I'll challenge you that within 10 minutes of waking, you will encounter vanilla,'" Cameron said in his book- and plant-filled office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he's a botany professor and director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium."


Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/newswatch/to-uw-madison-professor-theres-nothing-ordinary-about-vanilla-b99156145z1-236666281.html#ixzz2q3Z6nlzh
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A feature on my colleague Ken Cameron's research on vanilla orchids.

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What drives changes in food security and what does this imply for agricultural and food policy? | ReSAKSS - Asia

What drives changes in food security and what does this imply for agricultural and food policy? | ReSAKSS - Asia | Ethnobotany: plants and people | Scoop.it

Food security is a particular concern for Asia. The first reason is the sheer size of Asia’s undernourishment problem. According to a recent FAO report, of the 868 million people estimated to be undernourished in the world, 564 million, or 65 percent of the total, reside in countries of Asia (FAO 2012). Undernourished people constitute 14 percent of the population of Asia. The problem is particularly alarming with regard to children. Among several Asian countries the incidence of childhood stunting exceeds 40 percent.


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Traditional knowledge, culture can be patented - Times of India

Traditional knowledge, culture can be patented Times of India MUMBAI: Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Cultural Expression (TCE) reflecting a community's cultural and social identity, handed down generations, may soon be recognized as a...
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Useful for topic on Intellectual Property, Traditional Knowledge, Biopiracy, and research ethics in ethnobotany course.

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