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Ethnobotany: A Modern Perspective

Author(s): Rani Vajravelu

Edition: 3

Copyright: 2020

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Ethnobotany: A Modern Perspective focuses on the indigenous plants and their impact on modern society. It discusses more than 260 plants that originated in different parts of the world and how they relate to human lives every day. This comprehensive text is built on the indigenous plants used around the world as food, beverage, medicine, narcotics, shelter, and clothing, along with their applications elsewhere. It refers to each plant by its common name, scientific name, and the family to which it belongs.

Ethnobotany: A Modern Perspective features:

  • an introduction to each chapter that ties in real world application.
  • summary tables, world maps, and review questions.
  • answers for each of the ten, open-ended concept questions given in each chapter.
  • a glossary of all botanical terminology used throughout the text.

Ethnobotany: A Modern Perspective:

  • is designed for major/non-major courses in Ethnobotany, Plants and Humanities, Plants and People, Cultural Botany, Culinary Botany, or similar courses that focus on plants in human life.
  • is student friendly! The text integrates line drawings, terminology, background botanical information, examples, tables or maps or, often both, along with review questions throughout.
  • is interactive! A collection of original color photographs of the plants and their products are accessible on an accompanying website.

Preface

Pedagogical Organization

Acknowledgments

List of Photographs

Chapter 1 Ethnobotany and its Applications

Ethnobotany and Economic Botany

Ethnobotanists

Training and Methods

Ethnobotany in Your Life

Plants and Health

Plants in History

Economically Important Plant Families

Most widely cultivated crops

Something to think about

Chapter 2 Botany in a Nutshell

Angiosperm Plant Structure

Morphology of a Twig

Morphology of a Root

Morphology of a Flower

Two Classes of Angiosperms

Meristems and Plant Growth

Meristems and Derived Tissues

Tissue Systems and Included Tissue Types

Summary of Tissue Organization in Plants

Simple Tissues

Complex Tissues

Secretory Cells

Plant Life Cycle

Botanical Nomenclature

Chapter 3 Vegetables

Stem and Leaf-Derived Vegetables

Hypocotyl Vegetables

Vegetables Derived from Modified Plant Parts

Description of modifications

Vegetable Derived from Flower Parts

Chapter 4 Fruits

Fleshy Fruits

Dry Fruits

Some Exceptions

Rose Family Fruits

Pome Fruits—Subfamily Maloideae

Apple Facts

Stone Fruits—Subfamily Amygdaloideae

Aggregate Fruits—Subfamily Rosoideae

Dry Fruits—Subfamily Spiraeoideae

Cucurbit Family Fruits

Citrus Family Fruits

Heath Family Fruits

Fig Family Fruits

Pawpaw Family Fruits

Fruits from Other Angiosperm Families

Fruits that are Berries

Fruits That Are Drupes or Drupe-Like

Other Fruits

Fruit or Vegetable?

Fruits that go “Nuts”

Real nuts

Drupaceous nuts

Nuts from the endocarp of drupe

Other exceptional nuts

Chapter 5 Grains and Legumes

GRASSES

Grass Plant Structure

From the Field to the Pantry

Rice

Wheat

Corn

Oats

Sorghum

Other Edible Grains

Sugarcane

Grains That Are Not “Real” Grains

Legumes

Pulses and Lentils

Beans and Peas

Peanut

Soybean

Tamarind

Carob

Forage Legumes

Chapter 6 Plant-Derived Beverages

Caffeinated Beverages

Tea

Brief History

Variations in Tea

The Flavor of Tea

Tea Facts

Coffee

Brief History

Coffee Plants

Coffee Processing

Roasting

Variations in Coffee

Coffee Facts

Other Uses of Coffee

Chocolate

Processing

Products of Chocolate

Chocolate Facts

Cola

Lesser Known Beverages

Alcoholic Beverages

Chapter 7 Vegetable Oils

Types of Fatty Acids

Oil Extraction Methods

Smoking Points and the Health Connection

Some Well-Known Vegetable Oils

Canola Oil

Corn Oil

Cottonseed Oil

Olive Oil

Peanut Oil

Rice Bran Oil

Safflower Oil

Sesame Oil

Soybean Oil

Sunflower Oil

Coconut Oil

Castor Oil

Neem Oil

Additional Sources of Oils and Waxes

Chapter 8 Flavor for Our Food

In Search of Aromatic Plants

Spices

Cinnamon

Cloves

Allspice

Pepper

Nutmeg and mace

Star anise

Cardamom and related plants

Saffron

Vanilla

Chili pepper

Herbs

Carrot Family (Apiaceae)

Mustard Family (Brassicaceae)

Mint Family (Lamiaceae)

Miscellaneous Herbs

Curry Powder

Chapter 9 Plants of Medicinal Value

History of Herbal Medicine

The Phytochemicals
Alkaloids

Glycosides

Plants Used in Traditional and Modern Medicine

Rauwolfia

Catharanthus

Colchicum

Podophyllum

Taxus

Ephedra

Atropa

Hyoscyamus

Digitalis

Salix

Spirea

Aloe

Carica

Other Plants of Medicinal Value

Chapter 10 Plant Narcotics and Poisons

Classification of Plant Drugs

Plants Often Misused

Marijuana

Opium

Coca

Tobacco

Deadly Nightshade and Related Plants

Lesser Known Plant Drugs

Peyote

Kava

Betel and Areca nut

Ololiuqui

Khat

Caapi

Poisonous Plants

Chapter 11 Plant Fibers and Wood Products

Anatomy of Fiber and Wood

Fiber

Extraction methods

Surface Fibers

Coconut

Cotton

Cotton facts

Kapok

Bast Fibers

Jute

Linen

Hemp

Ramie

Hard Fibers

Sisal

Abaca

Wood Fiber and Papermaking

Wood

Characteristics of wood

Wood products

Woody stems

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Glossary

References

Index

Rani Vajravelu

Rani Vajravelu is a member of the teaching faculty at the University of Central Florida Biology department. She is known for her creative and professional efforts that make her classes fun and informative. Her dedication and genuine interest in student learning earned her several teaching excellence awards. Vajravelu’s classroom experience combined with her passion for botany led to the development of this textbook and two new courses, Culinary Botany and Medical Botany, both are currently offered as part of the Biology curriculum at UCF. She is acclaimed for motivating the most uninterested student towards botany. She is proud of the fact that many of her past students have taken up successful careers in the fields related to the plant/health/environment.

Rani Vajravelu is also the author of a children’s story book, The Dog That Didn’t Like Leftovers which she wrote under her pen name Aachi K. Machi, through Archway Publishing Company.

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