Plant Diversity ›› 2014, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (02): 261-266.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201413116

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Plants in Starter Culture for Brewing Traditional Liquor of  Miao Ethnic Group in Leigongshan Mountain, Guizhou

 ZHAO  Fu-Wei-1, YAO  Yao-2, TANG  Jun-Dun-3, XIE  Zhen-Guo-3, YANG  Sheng-Guo-3, YU  Yong-Fu-3, WU  Jian-Yong-1, ZHOU  Jiang-Ju-4, ZHANG  Shi-Ling-3, LI  Ping-3, YANG  Shao-Jun-3, LEI  Qi-Yi-4, XUE  Da-Yuan-1、2   

  1. 1 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Nanjing 210042, China; 2 College of
    Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081, China; 3 Leigongshan Mountain
    National Nature Reserve Administration, Guizhou 557100, China; 4 School of Environment
    & Life Science, Kaili University, Kaili 556011, China
  • Received:2013-05-22 Online:2014-03-25 Published:2013-07-12
  • Supported by:

    环境保护部“生物多样性保护专项”;科技部国家科技基础性工作专项 (2012FY110300)


For many years, traditional knowledge, techniques and knowhow have been applied in the process of fermentation of traditional liquor and also in the process of making its starter culture by Miao ethnic group who lives in Leigongshan Mountain, Southwest China. To protect liquor culture of Miao people, and in order to document and transmit it from generation to generation, we have conducted a series of surveys on the techniques and the process of brewing traditional liquor and making starter culture; and we have documented the plants which have been used for starter culture via ethnobotanical and taxonomical approaches, such as key informants interview, participatory rural appraisal, and ethnobotanical inventory. It has been demonstrated that the traditional liquor in Miao communities resembles other Xiaoqu alcoholic in terms of both the producing process and techniques. Thirtyfive species of plants used in starter culture, which belong to 19 families and 28 genera, were identified and inventoried. Piloselloides hirsuta (Asteraceae) and Indigofera bungeana (Fabaceae) are the most frequently employed ones among all of the plants. Fresh and tender stems, leaves, or shoots of the plants are parts of plants which are used to make distiller’s yeast; while the whole plant is barely used. The traditional knowledge associated with starter culture would fail to be handed down in a few decades, due to erosion of modernization and losses of young (female) labor and the ethnic language as well. More researche should be carried out as soon as possible to promote liquor culture of Miao people, e.g. census on plants in starter culture and valuation of its biological activities.

Key words: Ethnobotany, Miao ethnic group, Plants in starter culture, Traditional liquor, Traditional knowledge

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