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Abstract Detail

Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section

Mcclure, Katrina [1], Kindscher, Kelly [1], Corbett, Steve [1], Long, Quinn [1].

Creating an Ethnobotanical Database: Native Edible and Medicinal Plants of Kansas as a Case Study.

This project illustrates how an ethnobotanical database can provide information on plants relevant to tribal groups. Our case study, using regression analysis, is one example of how an ethnobotanical database can be used to extract information over many contexts, be it geographical or cultural (i.e., tribal or cultural group or organization). The Prairie Ethnobotanical Database at the University of Kansas provides important insights into the proportion of plants that have medicinal value, as well as a wide range of additional use criteria, including: plant part utilized, treatment types, tribal affiliation, regional expanse, and physical categorizations such as duration and growth habit. This case study uses data limited to medicinal plants in Kansas across plant families. There are 2,232 species in Kansas, of which 711 are recorded as having medicinal uses. Thirty-two percent of Kansas plants are used for medicine, and 68 percent are categorized as non-medicinal. Regression analysis of plant families are ranked and compared with results for all of North America and areas of interest are identified. Within the state of Kansas, not unexpectedly, Asteraceae (sunflower family) is ranked highest, but surprisingly Fabaceae (bean family) ranks exceedingly high with regard to medicinal use. We highlight here just one method where an ethnobotanical database can be used as a model to retrieve valuable information regarding the historical uses of native plants. The regression analysis used reveals distinctions between plant families in Kansas. This method of analysis, along with others, can be expanded into various contexts. Tribes interested in developing or utilizing existing ethnobotanical databases could use this resource as a way to develop culturally relevant projects related to the study and identification of traditional foods, medicinal plants, and plants used for basketry, art, and other materials.

Broader Impacts:

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Related Links:
Native Medicinal Plant Research Program

1 - University of Kansas, Kansas Biological Survey, 2101 Constant Ave, Lawrence, KS, 66047, USA

PLANTS program
wild plants
medicinal plants
useful plants.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 22
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 4:45 PM
Number: 22005
Abstract ID:538

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