Multimedia Resources for Ethnobotany Curriculum
| Marungai (Moringa oleifera)|
Moringa-The Miracle Tree is a Discovery Channel production (2005) exploring the importance of a single plant as a symbol of Filipino culture and as a famine food for people in arid tropical regions of the world. Moringa is just one example of a plant that serves as a symbol of a culture, a flag or a marker by which people identity themselves. Many of these kinds of plants are actually grown around people's homes because they feel familiar and look right. They serve as markers of culture and cultural affinity. As foods these are typically critical to life as staple sources of calories or nutrients, although some are more symbolic and derived from earlier times when lifestyles were different and food demands were different. Some marker plants are not foods but are long-lived trees that serve important roles in religious and social contexts. A few marker plants are herbs that are medicinal or are maintained for unusual or colorful floral displays. This episode discusses some of the the importance of Marungai (Moringa oleifera) in Filipino culture in Hawaii and the significance and modern uses of these trees in other parts of the world.
Used with Permission from:
- Discovery Channel and Zija Inc.
Balick, M. & P.Cox. 1996. Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. Scientific American, New York. Pages 63-98