BOT105 Class Description

Catalog Course Description:

Plants and their influence on global culture and history including:  plant domestication and agriculture;  plant biogeography and human migration;  plant use in religious, medical and shamanic traditions; cultural aspects of plant conservation. 

Ethnobotany   is the scientific study of interactions between human cultures and plants/plant environments (the interrelationships between people and plants).  This includes a wide range of topics taken from an even wider range of disciplines.  This course examines many different levels and types of interactions between people and plants. 

Many people think ethnobotany only includes past activities of people and plants, and while this concept was true a century ago, and consists of amajor segment of our studies, ethnobotany also includes the adaptations which people continually make to the "old culture" with regards to their interactions with plants.

Examples of interactions are taken from around the world, but many are of cultural uses of plants in Hawai'i, other Pacific Islands,  Asia, or Native Americans (First Peoples in Canada).

Ethnobotany  =  Plants, Peoples, and Cultures.

Learning outcomes for Introductory Ethnobotany:

  • Students will be able to describe how plants have, and continue to shape, human livelihoods and culture.
  • Students will be able to discuss and appreciate the roles of plants in their own daily lives.
  • Students will become familiar with basic elements of botanical and cultural sciences.

Course Details:

Introductory Ethnobotany (Botany 105) is a three credit class, consisting of two lectures per week with laboratory sections (the latter  generally consist of hands-on excercises or excursions).

Botany 105A (Honors Section) meets twice weekly, and the hands-on exercises are incorporated in the bi-weekly meetings.  In lieu of a third meeting each week, video lectures should be viewed before the class meeting

Botany 105 Lectures:

Fall Semester 2016:  Monday and Wednesday, 12:30-1:20 pm in Business Administration Building A101.

Botany 105 Lab (one hour sections, limited to 20 students):

Fall Semester 2016:  Friday: 8:30-9:20 am, , 9:30-10:20 am, 10:30-11:20 am, 11:30 am-12:20 pm, 12:30-1:20 pm, 1:30-2:20 pm; in  St. John 157 (located in the courtyard next to the main St. John building).

Botany 105A (Honors Section):

Fall Semester 2017: Monday and Wednesday, 12:30-1:20 pm in St John 402.  The hands-on exercises are incorporated with the lecture (usually on Wednesday).  The Honors section is supplemented with video lectures.

Reading and Videos:

Readings will be assigned from the course text (Balick & Cox).  

Video lectures are posted on Youtube and are linked to in the videos section of this website.  


There are two exams: a midterm and a final.  The final exam will be cumulative (containing information since the beginning of the course).  There may also be short quizzes.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:

We will make every effort to accommodate students with disabilities.  If you feel that you have a disability which might make it difficult to participate in certain course activities, please contact the instructor as early as possible. The KOKUA program in the Office of Student Affairs (Queen Lili'uokalani Center for Student Services, room 409; tel. 956-3290) for students on campus is well suited to help overcome difficulties.  Any information about student disabilities discussed with instructors or KOKUA  is confidential.

Academic Honesty:

All students are presumed to be familiar with departmental policies regarding academic integrity. Refer to the Student Conduct Code. The Policies and Procedures are in the attached file below.  For additional information, contact the Office of Student Affairs (QLCSS 409; tel. 956-3290).  Students should not tolerate instances of dishonesty among their peers, and you are strongly encouraged to discuss any instances you may know about with a member of the course staff. Such information will be treated confidentially.  

(Revised Jan. 5, 2017, A. K. Chock)

Al Keali'i Chock,
Jan 3, 2017, 11:39 PM