Economic Botany

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 287-303

First online:

Ethnobotany of WopkaiminPandanus significant Papua New Guinea plant resource

  • David C. HyndmanAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Queensland

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Pandanus is well represented in Papua New Guinea with over 66 species growing from sea level to 3,000 m. The territory of the Wopkaimin, who live at the headwaters of the Ok Tedi in the Star and Hindenburg Mountains, is particularly rich in wild and domesticated species ofPandanus. Detailed analysis of the species in classification, ecology, subsistence, ritual and material culture not only establishesPandanus as a locally significant plant resource but also contributes to the comparative understanding of ethnobiological systems. A close correspondence with botanical taxa of generic and specific rank and an absence of the most inclusive taxon term for plant are 2 cross-culturally important findings substantiated in WopkaiminPandanus taxonomy.