Humans have utilized plants over millennia for food, fiber, shelter, medicine, art, ritual, scent, dyes, and more. Explore ethnobotany, the study of the complex relationships between people and plants, as we journey through five geographic regions. Topics will include ethnolinguistics, ethnopharmacology, conservation, and biocultural diversity. We will also tour the UC Botanical Garden, which has a globally diverse collection of over 10,000 plants.
Deepa Natarajan coordinates the UC Botanical Garden’s public education programs. She holds a B.S. in medical anthropology from Boston University and a master’s in ethnobotany from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the University of Kent in England. Natarajan believes that plant conservation goes hand in hand with preserving culture and knowledge.
Tom Carlson is a medical doctor, ethnobotanist, and integrative biology instructor at UC Berkeley. He has collaborated with different indigenous/local people in many countries to learn about their medical and nutritional perspectives on ethnobotany. He studies medicinal and food plant species in physiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, systematics, and ecology.