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Origins of Plant Uses: Mythology as Truth

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Multimedia Resources for Ethnobotany Curriculum
Origins of Plant Uses
"Myths" or cultural stories often contain truths and historical information. Myths are valid from the perspective of members of the culture regardless of the "validation" status given by scientists. Ethnobotanical myths commonly contain elements of conservation, plant origin/histories, considerations of relative importance of plants to the culture and comments on correct usage and respect for plants. This episode examines some of the ways that plants are incorporated within myths as means of organizing information about everything from observations of natural history to the meaning of life.

Production Credits

Presented by:

  • Will McClatchey

Themes and Content by:

  • Isabella Abbott

  • Al Keali'i Chock

  • Will McClatchey

  • Mylien T. Nguyen

  • Tamara Ticktin

  • David Webb

Special Presentations and Content by:

  • Tony A.B. Cunningham

  • Catherine Davenport

  • Orou Gaoue

  • Lisa X. Gollin

  • Y. Han Lau

  • Spencer Leinweber

  • Mark Merlin

  • Levon ‘ohai

  • Joseph Ostraff

  • Melinda Ostraff

  • Orlo Steele

  • Clay Trauernicht

  • Art Whistler

  • Namaka Whitehead

  • Kawika Winter

Post Production Critique by:

  • Al Keali'i Chock

  • Momi Kamahele

  • Kiope Raymond

  • Botany 105 Students (Fall 2005)

Camera Work by:

  • David Reedy

  • David Strauch

  • Michael B. Thomas

Video and Sound Editing by:

  • Markus Faigle

  • David Reedy

  • David Strauch

  • Michael B. Thomas

Audio Production by:

  • Will McClatchey

  • David Reedy

Consulting by:

  • Edo Biagoni

  • Kim Bridges

  • Pauline Chinn

  • Valerie McClatchey

  • Hae Okimoto

  • Nelda Quinsell

  • Ingelia White

Funding provided by:

  • University of Hawai'i, Department of Botany

  • University of Hawai'i, Information Technology Services

  • University of Hawai'i, College of Natural Sciences

  • University of Hawai'i, Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • National Center for Academic Transformation

  • University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Chancellor

Inspiration from:

  • Isabella Abbott

  • Michael Balick

  • Brad Bennett

  • Brent Berlin

  • Paul Cox

  • Memory Elvin-Lewis

  • Timothy Johns

  • Beatrice Krauss

  • Walter Lewis

  • Richard Evans Schultes

  • Gail Wagner

  • The Society for Economic Botany


Balick, M. & P.Cox. 1996. Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. Scientific American, New York. Pages 72-81

Supplemental Readings

On-Line Resources
Dave Reedy,
May 29, 2012, 12:50 PM