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Folk names and uses for martyniaceous plants


Folk names and uses for martyniaceous plants are detailed by literature references, data from herbarium specimens and fieldwork in Mexico and the United States. There is a diversity of names and uses in Mexico because of the large number of species and the many different cultures there. Seeds, roots, and leaves of species ofProboscidea are gathered and consumed as food. Leaves ofMartynia are used to remove insects from fowl in Mexico and Guatemala, and its fruits are used medicinally in the former country. Most Mexican common names for martyniaceous plants are descriptive, and the folk taxonomies for these plants often agree with scientific taxonomies. The showy and fragrant flowers and oddly-shaped fruits ofProboscidea, Ibicella, andMartynia led to their cultivation as ornamentals in the United States and Europe. The common names for martyniaceous plants in European languages are generally variations of devil’s claw, cat’s claw, or unicorn plants. Young fruits ofProboscidea andIbicella are eaten as vegetables and pickles in the United States, South America, and Europe. Mature fruits ofProboscidea are widely used as ornaments. Roots from species ofCraniolaria are consumed as food or medicine in South America and the Antilles.

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Bretting, P.K. Folk names and uses for martyniaceous plants. Econ Bot 38, 452–463 (1984).

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  • Yuca
  • Economic Botany
  • Folk
  • Field Note
  • Herbarium Specimen