New Histories of Plant Use and Place

Stefania Wilks
Email address: 
Proposal Type: 
Live 75 minute session - which includes 6 speakers/discussant timeslots.
Session Date and Time: 
Wednesday, 12 May, 2021 - 11:00 to 12:15
Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Alexandria - Columbia University
, Chantel - University of Pennsylvania
, Naomi - University of Pennyslvania

Bartram’s Garden, the oldest surviving commercial botanical garden in the United States, possesses a unique history of North American plants exported to Europe during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During architectural restorations of the Bartram home, a rodent cache was found under the attic floorboards. It contained a variety of materials from the Bartram property, including botanical remains, newspaper and parchment fragments, cloth fragments, and faunal bone. While challenges exist in analyzing rodent cached materials, so do unique advantages. The Bartram’s cache offers the rare opportunity to study well-preserved remains of an historic garden, most notably plants that may have been omitted from or mislabeled in contemporary commercial seed catalogues. In this paper, we investigate the formation of rodent caches and address issues with dating these assemblages, in order to explore the cultivated spaces of Bartram’s that were central to constructing and mitigating early American indetinites.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Erana - The University of Waikato

Indigenous relationships to the environment are embedded in narratives and cultural practices. Such relationships to the environment have been maintained by Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand for many generations through a practical philosophy often described as kaitiakitanga. Place and practice are inextricably linked in traditional Māori narratives; a connection constructed through the creation narratives and the concept of whakapapa. Many Indigenous peoples now grapple with new circumstances, including the rise of urban spaces. Urban spaces present new challenges in maintaining the place-making processes of connection to the natural world including indigenous relationships with water bodies. As the population of urban Māori continues to grow, exploration of key components of kaitiakitanga such as place, whakapapa, intergenerational knowledge, engagement and spirituality is needed. How these components of kaitiakitanga intersect with the ecological restoration of the urban space could provide new collaborative opportunities between people and nature.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Mallory - University of California-Santa Barbara

Analysis of starch residues from sediments, surfaces, and dental calculus has proven to be a powerful tool for identifying the types of plants and preparation methods used by ancient peoples. Although morphological signatures for boiling and baking have been well-studied, less understood are the impacts of chuño production – involving freeze-drying, burying, and sun exposure – on the integrity of potato starch granules. This paper compares size metrics and qualitative attributes of modern starch granules in chuño purchased from markets in different parts of the Andes. Results reveal statistical differences in starch granule size between the two production methods, in addition to characteristic morphological attributes. This study provides an unprecedented set of criteria for identifying archaeological evidence of potato detoxification (a prerequisite for domestication) and production strategies for chuño, one of the most popular food resources in the modern-day Andes.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Stefania - University of Utah

A wealth of information on the global patterns of human subsistence and plant domestication has been generated from studies on the starch grains of Zea mays (maize). Very little work, however, has been conducted on how the size and morphology of those grains might change if exposed to different environmental contexts (e.g., the amount of water parent plants receive). In the arid Southwest, the role of irrigation in growing maize is an important parameter in many foraging models. Our study seeks to determine if there are significant changes in the size or morphological attributes of starch grains from maize planted at Range Creek under six different irrigation regimes ranging from no irrigation to ample. Our results provide data on the impact of irrigation on the size and morphology of starch grains and, therefore, have implications for identifying archaeological maize and possibly determining past water regimes at Range Creek Canyon.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Manica - Botanical Institute of Barcelona
, Airy - Botanical Institute of Barcelona
, Fran - BioScripts
, Mario - University of Barcelona
, Joan - University of Barcelona
, Daniel - Botanical Institute of Barcelona
, Teresa - Botanical Institute of Barcelona

Nowadays, new applications of Cannabis are continuously being developed, but knowledge about its traditional uses is declining. The CANNUSE database presented here provides an organized information source on different aspects of Cannabis use and serves as a starting point for development of R&D strategies based on traditional knowledge. It contains data from 649 publications from 41 countries; more than 70% of data entries are represented by medicinal use, followed by psychoactive and alimentary use, and most common plant parts are leaf (50.51%) and seed (15.38%). Human medicinal use represents more than half of data entries. We recorded treatments for 210 ailments, the most common being sedative (6.02%), analgesic (5.84%), antidiarrhoeal (3.01%) and antihaemorrhoidal (2.52%). There is a significant relationship between system category or ailments treatment and plant parts used; leaf is associated with treatment of wounds and haemorrhoids, seeds with musculoskeletal system disorders and traumas, and inflorescence as a sedative.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, OLUWAGBENGA - University of Lagos

Fresh-cut fruits of pineapple and banana have a relatively short shelf-life, hence the need to enhance their quality. Preservation effect of ethanolic extract of leaf of Lantana camara (10%w/v) incorporated with maize-based edible coating on fresh-cut fruits of banana and pineapple were determined. The quality assessment of coated fruits at ambient temperature (PEC); untreated fruits (NTS), sodium benzoates (BSB) at ambient temperature, and a coated sample (PEC@4) at 4oC were analysed at intervals for 15 days. The quantitative phytochemical constituents of the extracts were assayed. The extract's phytochemical analysis shows high yields of tannins, flavonoids, anthraquinones, and low yields of alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. The quality assessment of the test fresh-cut fruits revealed higher preservation activity in PEC@4 of banana and pineapple, followed by a considerable efficacy of PEC of banana and pineapple. This study shows that the extract of L. camara incorporated with maize-based coating could enhance the fresh-cut fruits of pineapple and banana.