Faculty Research & Creative Activity


Teaching Ethnobotany in China

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2011


China has a rich and well documented tradition and diverse usage of plants. China provides examples of the incorporation of plant derived drugs in medicine. The diverse usage of plants is also reflected in the many kinds of Chinese food that are consumed by people of various nations around the world. China is one of the "cradles" of agriculture, the birth place of the cultivation of many important crops, including rice, millet, soybeans, and water chestnuts, and is the only undisrupted major ancient civilization in the world. Some plants find use in almost every aspect of Chinese life, such as the bamboo, a woody grass, which provides material for many uses, from construction to furniture, tools, crafts, paper, and food. Thus China is an outstanding location for the study of ethnobotany, allowing close examination of the diversity of human usages of plants, past and present, and its implications on humanity in the future.

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