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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 12 (1995-1996). Copyright © Christina A. Pereira; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


The study of ethnobotany examines the role plants play in a society. In many
subsistence-based agricultural societies plants provide a variety of resources for the subsistence of the people, including food, medicine, tools, and adornment. This paper examines the manner in which members of a Mexican mestizo village utilized local plants in their daily lives. Data is drawn from an ethnographic field school rsearch during the summer of 1995 in the ejido Emilio Carranza, near the town of Los Rayon in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Residents classified plants in four broad categories, and maintained many of the most useful species in household gardens. The most diverse class of plants were in the category of medicinal herbs used by curanderas (female herbalists). Where possible, local Spanish or Indigenous names are cross-referenced in the Linnaean taxonomic classification system.

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