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Economic Botany

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 374–385 | Cite as

Cultural transmission of ethnobotanical knowledge in a rural community of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina

  • Mariana Lozada
  • Ana Ladio
  • Mariana WeigandtEmail author

Abstract

In the present study we analyzed medicinal and edible plant utilization in Cuyin Manzano, a small rural population located near the Andean forests of Argentina. We also studied where and when plant knowledge was learned, who the principal transmitters were, and how people were taught. The participants were interviewed individually and at random, by means of a semi-structured questionnaire. Interviews were carried out in 16 families in order to examine the present use of wild plants. The inhabitants of Cuyin Manzano cited 87 plants: 63 medicinal and 24 edible species. They mentioned on average 31 ± 10 species per person. Similar patterns of plant use were found in young and old people alike, irrespective of gender. Learning about useful plants took place at an early age as a result of family tradition. This local knowledge is acquired and taught “by doing,” and is mostly transmitted vertically through family dissemination. Wild plant learning implies the acquisition of plants' physical and functional features as well as their environmental characteristics.

Key Words

Learning of ethnobotanical information Mapuche indigenous tradition Patagonia Argentina traditional ecological knowledge 

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consejo National de Investigaciones Cientifico y Técnicas, Laboratorio Ecotono, Centro Regional Universitario BarilocheUniversidad National del ComahueArgentina

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