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25 July 2013, Volume 35 Issue 4
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  • Articles
    Ethnobotany and the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity
    PEI Sheng-Ji
    2013, 35(4):  401-406.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201313002
    Abstract ( 1806 )   HTML ( )   PDF (923KB) ( 1820 )   Save
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    Ethnobotany, as a scientific discipline, deals with humanplant relationships, and is vitally important to plant conservation. Ethnobotany is used in many countries throughout the world for documenting indigenous knowledge of plants. Consequently, many inventories of useful plants in local floras have been compiled. Over the last hundred years, local knowledge about plants, gained through ethnobotanical studies, has contributed greatly to the development of medicine and agriculture, and to the discovery of numerous new plantbased products. Since the 1960s, the scientific community has become increasingly aware of the magnitude of global environmental change, now occurring at a speed never before encountered in human history. Natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate and there are threats of imminent extinction to many species. Faced with this crisis, ethnobotanical research assumes a new urgency, not only as a tool for trying to deal with environmental degradation, but also for its potential usefulness in contributing to sustainable use of plant resources and poverty reduction among rural communities. Ethnobotanical research can contribute to modern development in many ways, including: creating information/databanks of traditional knowledge about plants for use in conservation and future development; managing the landscape so as to best deliver conservation benefits of all types; enhancing rural community engagement in rural development. This paper discusses ethnobotany and its role in modern development and biodiversity conservation, the challenges that biodiversity and sustainable use face,and the biocultural approach of biodiversity use and conservation.

    Maintaining Resources for Traditional Medicine: A Global Overview and a Case Study from Buganda (Uganda)
    Alan Hamilton, Yildiz Aumeeruddy Thomas
    2013, 35(4):  407-423.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201313006
    Abstract ( 1157 )   HTML ( )   PDF (13442KB) ( 1969 )   Save
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     Presentations at a session of the 13th Congress of the International Society for Ethnobiology (ISE, May 2012) provided a global overview of ‘maintaining resources for traditional medicine’. Two themes received special attention, transmission of traditional medical knowledge and conservation of medicinal plants. The consensus at the wellattended session was that traditional medicine can play a useful role in primary healthcare, including for chronic complaints and spiritual problems. However, the use of traditional medicine is declining in many places. Some practical efforts at maintaining resources for traditional medicine are described. A case study for Buganda (Uganda), given in greater detail, shows that progress in maintaining resources for traditional medicine can be impeded by forces not directly related to its intrinsic merits. The value of making efforts to maintain resources for traditional medicine is discussed in relation to its contribution to biocultural conservation, much needed today to counterbalance the homogenising and ecologically destabilising influences of globalisation.

    New Developments in Plant Conservation and the Relevance of Ethnobotany
    Alan Hamilton
    2013, 35(4):  424-430.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312133
    Abstract ( 1210 )   HTML ( )   PDF (926KB) ( 1685 )   Save
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    There is only one cover of plants on Earth, so all plantrelated aspects of conservation should be considered in deciding how the land and the plants on it should be managed for conservation purposes. A threefold classification of the benefits to be derived from ecosystembased plant conservation (EBPC) is suggested: conservation of plant species, the sustainable use of plant resources and the delivery of ecosystem services. EBPC is a placecentred approach which, in principle, can be pursued anywhere. Ethnobotanical research can help reveal realities about relationships between local people and plants, thus providing information useful for advancing plant conservation. Applied ethnobotany involves ethnobotanists working in a participatory way with local people, both parties contributing to the identification and resolution of conservation issues relating to plants. This type of research helps ensure that priority issues from the local perspective are addressed, thus making it more likely that local people will be committed to implementing solutions found. Both knowledge and values associated with local communities, and knowledge and methodologies associated with science are brought together in the conservation cause.

    Ethnobotany Should Pay Attention to the Study of Impacts of Human Utilization Practices on Plant Resources
    HUAI Hu-Yin, GAO Hong-Ming
    2013, 35(4):  431-437.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312170
    Abstract ( 1337 )   HTML ( )   PDF (886KB) ( 1802 )   Save
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    To investigate and inventory traditional knowledge on plant resources and to study the factors which affect the acquisition of such knowledge, we need to focus on the relationship between human beings and plants, realizing that impacts of human utilization practices on plant resources have been relatively ignored by ethnobotanists. There are three major reasons for conducting research related to the impacts of human utilization on plant resources: (1) to provide a theoretical foundation for using ethnobotanical principles and methods in plant resource conservation and sustainable utilization; (2) to promote ethnobotanical research into the 'application' stage; and (3) to broaden the research area of ethnobotany. In this research, the influences of human harvesting activities (especially commercial collecting) on plant resources should be given much more attention by ethnobotanists.

    Modern Ethnobotany: An Introduction
    LONG Chun-Lin
    2013, 35(4):  438-442.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312176
    Abstract ( 1393 )   HTML ( )   PDF (856KB) ( 1878 )   Save
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    The concepts and terminology used in modern ethnobotany are discussed in the present paper, while research designs and methodologies are briefly introduced. Based on a few case studies, the application and significance of modern ethnobotany are elucidated. Modern ethnobotany is the scientific study of interrelationships between local populations and plants, and employs various approaches involving a wide range of disciplines, such as computer science, information science, molecular biology, medicinal chemistry etc. As an example of its effective use, an investigation of genetic diversity of hullless barley landraces in Tibetan communities of northwest Yunnan using SSR and AFLP markers revealed that local practices have effectively conserved plant genetic resources. In addition, a pharmacological study on Aeschynanthus bracteatus, a member of the Gesneriaceae, has shown that this species is used in medicinal baths by the Yao people in southeast Yunnan. The future potential of modern ethnobotany and its importance to our understanding of interrelationships between local populations and plants is emphasised.

    Indigenous Botanical Nomenclature Used by the Zhuang People in Jingxi County, Guangxi
    HUANG Yu-Lv-, GUO Zhi-Yong-, LIU Yu-Jing-, WANG Ye-Ling-, LUO Bin-Sheng-, LONG Chun-Lin
    2013, 35(4):  443-452.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312163
    Abstract ( 1642 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1278KB) ( 1807 )   Save
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    The common plants occurring in Jingxi County, Guangxi, were investigated, based on ethnobotanical approaches. An ethnobotanical inventory that includes 103 plant species, together with local names, was produced and is presented in this paper. The indigenous botanical nomenclature used by the Zhuang people in Jingxi County was analyzed. We concluded that a “folk binomial nomenclature” is used where the “genus” concept includes a plant′s life form or economic features, while the “species” component refers to its characteristics and/or usage. A comparison between the indigenous botanical nomenclature used by the Zhuang people in Jingxi County and the nomenclature used by other ethnic groups in terms of scientific binomial systems was analyzed. A comparative linguistic analysis between Zhuang and Dai showed similarities in type of botanical nomenclature used and also pronunciation.

    The Status and Characteristics of Traditional Medicine Markets in Dali Prefecture
    WANG Li-, WANG Yu-Hua
    2013, 35(4):  453-460.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201313058
    Abstract ( 1306 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1263KB) ( 1708 )   Save
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    The Dali Prefecture, where Bai, Han and Tibetan ethnic groups are found, is located on the Ancient TeaHorse Road. Trade in tea and medicinal materials, dating back to ancient times, remain important in local markets that serve as centers for exchange of goods and also as cultural centers for the three ethnic groups. With the rapid economic development of China and the influence of western medicine, the traditional markets in the region, and therefore the trade and culture that focuses on medicinal materials, could be under threat. It is important, therefore, to document the characteristics of traditional medicine markets while they still operate. We have conducted an ethnobotanical investigation involving the study of medicinal materials traded in three important traditional markets in Dali. We found that traditional medicine exchange is still an important component of the Bai, Han and Tibetan culture, and that traditional knowledge about medicinal plants differs between these ethnic groups. The three groups have different ways of distributing sales staff and in dealing with different medicinal plants. The multiethnic exchange and diversity of customs in markets illustrate the mutual needs of the three groups and reflect the importance of exchange markets in traditional medicine practised in the area.

    A Study on the Utilization of Wild Plants for Food in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture
    WANG Jing
    2013, 35(4):  461-471.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312152
    Abstract ( 1754 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1279KB) ( 1824 )   Save
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    The ethnobotanical “5W+1H” method plus market and field investigations were used to study traditional knowledge of wild edible plants in Mianning County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture. The results showed that 1) there are 110 species of wild edible plant occurring in Mianning County, belonging to 45 different families and 91 genera. Of these, 4 species are used as grain, 53 as vegetables, 37 as fresh fruits, 6 as condiments, 4 in brewing bean butter and bean paste, 16 as medicinal food, and 15 as substitutes for tea. 2) The characteristics of using wild plants in the food culture of the Yi and Han ethnogroups are almost the same, although each group maintains and develops their own particular food culture. 3) The status and reasons for using wild plants in the Yi and Han food culture were analyzed. Furthermore, how to protect traditional knowledge is discussed, together with proposals for the sustainable use of wild edible plants in this region.

    Ethnobotanical Activities at the DragonBoat Festival in Tongdao, Hunan Province
    LIU Guang-Hua-, SHE Chao-Wen-, JIANG Xiang-Hui-, DAN Shi-Bo-, ZENG Ting-Ting
    2013, 35(4):  472-478.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201313001
    Abstract ( 1575 )   HTML ( )   PDF (872KB) ( 1932 )   Save
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    Through longterm ethnobotanical investigation, we have discovered many ancient customs, including sacrificial, medicinal bathing, ornamental, and potherb customs, that take place at the traditional Dragon-Boat Festival in Tongdao County, Hunan Province. At this festival, people make full use of a large number of different plants when carrying out these customs. We recorded that plants hanging beside doors included 4 species, belonging to 4 different plant families and 4 genera; plants for bathing included 31 species, belonging to 20 families and 28 genera; while wild plants for healthcare included 47 species, belonging to 33 different families and 44 genera, most of which were wild medicinal plants having different functions. The uses of some of the plants recorded are reported for the first time. Reasons for the different uses of plants requires scientific investigation. Ethnobotanical knowledge is rich in the Dong communities and needs to be explored and studied comprehensively.

    An Ethnobotanical Study of Traditional Edible Plants Used by Naxi People in Northwest Yunnan, China——A Case Study in Wenhai Village
    ZHANG Ling-Ling-, ZHANG Yu-, WANG Li-, WANG Yu-Hua
    2013, 35(4):  479-486.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201313063
    Abstract ( 1484 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1111KB) ( 1669 )   Save
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     Knowledge of edible plants used traditionally by ethnic groups is in danger of being lost in fast changing societies, despite the threat of food shortages worldwide. Thus, it is of major importance to conduct ethnobotanical studies of traditional edible plants as still used. The Naxi people are native to Northwest Yunnan and have accumulated abundant traditional botanical knowledge during their existence as an ethnic group. During the whole of 2012, we conducted an ethnobotanical study of edible plants used by Naxi living in Wenhai Village, located at the foot of Yulong Snow Mountain. The investigation involved a literature research and interviews of 89 informants and 30 key informants. A total of 146 species of edible plants belonging to 48 families and 67 genera were documented as in use. The diversity of edible plants encompassed species diversity, collection time diversity, edible part and consumption diversity, and edible function diversity. It was estimated that 22% of plant families and 7.4% of plant genera that comprise the flora of the surrounding area of Yulong Mountain, each contain at least one species of edible plant. Edible plants are collected throughout the year, with 20.44% of them collected in spring, 22.63% in summer, 48.18% in autumn and 8.76% in winter. Traditional edible plants vary according to the part that is edible (eight different types) and consumed (15 types). In addition, 66 edible plants have a medicinal function for preventing or treating 18 different kinds of diseases. The diversity of traditional edible plants used by Naxi people is a rich resource and provides a material basis for avoiding food shortages.

    Botanical Verification of Divine Trees in “Legend of Mountains and Rivers”
    LIU Ben-Xi-, LI Heng-, LONG Chun-Lin-, FEI Sheng-Ji-, LI Shang-Yu-, LI Xiao-MIng
    2013, 35(4):  487-492.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312154
    Abstract ( 1162 )   HTML ( )   PDF (4765KB) ( 3656 )   Save
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    There is a tale in the Chinese ancient book “Legend of Mountains and Rivers” where the sun rises from a “Fusang Tree” in the east, hangs above a “Jian Tree” at noon, and goes down at the “Ruo Tree” in the west. People have debated the reality of such Divine Trees for many centuries and arguments for and against their existence did not stop until Bronze Trees were discovered in Sanxingdui, Guanghan Prefecture, Sichuan Province. This archaeological discovery proved that Divine Trees referred to in folklore existed. Here we report verification of prototypes of the three Divine Trees referred to in “Legend of Mountains and Rivers”, based on botanical knowledge and reference to the ancient literature. We verified that the Fusang Treeg Tprototype may have been Betula platyphylla, the Jian Tree′s prototype was possibly Cunninghamia lanceolata, while the Ruo Tree′s prototype may have been Bombax ceiba.

    The Genus Caragana Fabr. and Its Mongolian Ecological Culture
    ZHAO Ling-, E Er-Du-Ji-Ru-Ga-, MAN Liang-, Chen-Shan
    2013, 35(4):  493-496.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201313027
    Abstract ( 1258 )   HTML ( )   PDF (860KB) ( 1871 )   Save
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    The genus Caragana has very important cultural value in addition to its significance in both ecology and landscape. The ethnoecological study revealed that Mongolian ecological culture can accurately reflect the cultural, ecological and resource value of Caragana. Firstly, except for the original Mongolian name “Haragana” for this genus, the blending “Altagana” from the Mongolian adjective “Altan (meaning golden)” and Mongolian noun “Haragana” also contributes a lot to the development of modern plant science. Secondly, different thicketizationgrasslands in either the steppe zone or the desert zone constructed or dominated by Caragana microphylla, C.liouana, C.tibetica, C.stenophylla or C.korshinskii are the very pastures for the Mongolian nationality to herd with seasons or with different livestock in accordance with the geomorphic characteristics, grassland characteristics or feeding habits of livestock. This has also become the cultural and scientific foundation for the establishment of the grazing system unit centralized by rotational grazing. Thirdly, the folk songs of Mongolian nationality which speak highly of sandfixing and windpreventing function of Caragana can reflect the Mongolian’s correct understanding of the ecological principles of biological sand fixation. They are also the authentic cultural materials of the construction of the ecological civilization in the steppe zone or the desert zone in China.

    Ethnobotanical Survey of Use of Inula nervosa (Compositae)
    HE An-Na-, SHE Chao-Wen
    2013, 35(4):  497-500.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312161
    Abstract ( 1280 )   HTML ( )   PDF (834KB) ( 2426 )   Save
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    Inula nervosa is a plant in the Compositae family which is conventionally used by many ethnic groups as a folk medicine. We conducted field surveys and a literature review to compare the ways in which I.nervosa is used by different ethnic groups. We found that in the Hunan Tongdao region of China, it is uniquely used as a medical drug for the treatment of cuts and bruises. The results of our survey showed that there is a large demand for the plant, but its propagation is difficult and consequently its availability has dropped to a low level. We propose that research on the introduction and cultivation of I.nervosa should be increased, together with further analysis of its uses and potential for increased utilization.

    Jacaranone Derivatives from Senecio laetus (Compositae)
    ZHANG Feng, SU Ri-Na, WU Hai-Bo, WANG Wen-Shu
    2013, 35(4):  501-504.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201313011
    Abstract ( 1185 )   HTML ( )   PDF (897KB) ( 1793 )   Save
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    Seven jacaranone derivatives were isolated from the MeOH extract of the whole plants of Senecio laetus. Structures of the compounds were elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic. They were jacaranone(1); 3hydroxy-2, 3dihydrojacaranone methyl ester(2); 1-hydroxy-4-oxo-2, 5-hex edine-1-ethyl acetate(3); the mixture of 2-jacaranoneacyl-α-D-pyran glucose ester and 2-jacaranoneacyl-β-D-pyran glucose ester(4, 5); l-jacaranonacetate-β-D-pyran glucose ester(6)and 1-hydroxy-4-oxo-2, 5-hexedine-1-ethylic acid(7). The jacaranone derivatives were all isolated from this plant for the first time. The results supported that jacaranone derivatives could be characteristic secondary metabolite of Senecio.

    Phylogeography of Angelica nitida (Apiaceae), an endemic to the QinghaiTibet Plateau
    ZHANG Xue-Mei, HE Xing-Jin
    2013, 35(4):  505-512.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312178
    Abstract ( 1355 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1675KB) ( 2336 )   Save
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    In this study, we examined nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence variation of Angelica nitida, a perennial plant species that is endemic to alpine scree in the QinghaiTibetan Plateau. Seven ITS haplotypes were detected among 147 individuals sampled across 16 populations. All populations except one (population SP) contained haplotype (H1). However, analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that ITS variation was mainly present among populations (67%) and that significant phylogeographical structure was evident (NST>GST, P<0.05). We inferred from our results that the current distribution pattern of A.nitida resulted from range retreats and expansions during the Quaternary. During Quaternary glaciations A.nitida retreated to refugia at the edge of the QinghaiTibet Plateau , but then expanded its range during interglacials and the current postglacial period.

    Analysis of Factors Influencing Yield Variability of Major Crops in China
    GUO Liang-, Andreas Wilkes, YU Hai-Ying-, XIU Jian-Chu
    2013, 35(4):  513-521.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312109
    Abstract ( 1856 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1517KB) ( 2794 )   Save
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     The objective of this research was to analyze the characteristics and major factors influencing yield variability of a number of major crops in China from 1981 to 2010. Based on data for yield and sown area of a crop, four methods were used to separate crop trend yield and meteorological yield from actual yield. There was an association between total yield and per unit area yield for all major crops over the past 30 years in China. The per unit area yields of fruits increased more rapidly than other crops, and was about 7.09% for citrus fruit annually. The trend yield for different crops also increased year by year. However, meteorological yield fluctuated greatly with greatest fluctuations occurring for fruits (17.76% for citrus and 15.83% for apple). The contributions of sown area and per unit area yield to variability of total yield varied among the major crops. For grains and fruits, the contribution of per unit area yield had the dominant effect, while the opposite was the case for sugar crops and cotton. For oil crops both factors contributed almost equally. The variability in per unit area yield of all crops could be largely attributed to variability of meteorological factors. Social factors, such as agricultural policy and improved technology, played relatively lesser roles. The four methods used in the analysis showed no significant differences. The contributions of the above factors to yield variability were species dependent. To ensure agricultural production security, more attention should be paid to enhance the per unit area yield of crops together with the impact of climate change on yields.

    Comparative Morphology of Development of the Gametophyte and Juvenile Sporophyte of Phymatopteris
    SHAO Wen-, LIU Shu-Gang
    2013, 35(4):  522-528.  doi:10.7677/ynzwyj201312132
    Abstract ( 1164 )   HTML ( )   PDF (19537KB) ( 1949 )   Save
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    The development of the gametophyte and juvenile sporophyte are important in the systematics of fern groups, yet have been seldom studied in the genus Phymatopteris. Three species of Phymatopteris are described and compared in the present paper. It was established that spores were monolete, germination was Vittariatype, and prothallial development was Drynariatype. Germ filaments developed 2-6 cells, and mature prothalli were cordate with prominent cushions in the middle of two wings. Prothalli were usually bisexual. Antheridia were produced 48-55 days after sowing, and archegonia formed 15-18 days after the production of antheridia. Embryos began to develop in the cushion of the gametophyte 80-100 days after sowing. Spherical embryos differentiated into the first leaf, the first root, and shoot apex, and then into the juvenile sporophyte. Unicellular hairs appeared on the margin of prothalli and multicellular uniseriate trichomes developed on the dorsal surface of prothalli, especially in the cushion, to surround and protect the embryo and juvenile sporophyte. Differences in size of spores, germination time, characteristics of the filaments and adult prothallus, and time of gametangia formation were documented among the three species. Gametophytes in soil medium usually grew asynchronously, which may have been caused by vegetative generation or asynchronous germination of spores.