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Plant Usage & Cultural Importance

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  • Plant Usage & Cultural Importance

    Native American Ethnobotany

    Here's a link to: “Native American Ethnobotany: A Database of Foods, Drugs, Dyes and Fibers of Native American Peoples, Derived from Plants”.

    Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and with assistance from the University of Michigan – Dearborn, the dataset includes thousands of items representing usage by hundreds of Native American groups. About half of the entries represent medicinal use. The database is explained here:

    You can search for plants by both common and Latin names as well as particular usage. If, for example, you search for “antiseptic” or “snake bite” or “love medicine”, the hits that come up tell you (briefly) what was used, which tribes used it and how, with references. There is then a hot-link that takes you directly to the USDA plant database for pictures and information about the plant itself. There are just a few mosses and algae which occur only in Canada and are therefore out-of-scope for the USDA.
    The USDA also provides a list of culturally important plants to both Native Americans and early pioneers here:

    At the time of writing, there are 267 listings, each with a downloadable data sheet in doc or pdf format.

    The most important ones are summarised in a pdf document here:

    Last edited by painshill; 02-19-2021, 07:46 AM.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.