An Economic Botany Collection
Richard H. Zander
July 21, 2006
Res Botanica, a Missouri Botanical Garden Web Site

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AN ECONOMIC BOTANY COLLECTION

Richard H. Zander

 

Beverages

Cereals

Dyes

Essential Oils

Ethnobotany

Fibers

Forest Products

Fruit

Fumatories and Masticatories

Images

Medicinals

Miscellaneous

Oils, Waxes, Gums

Resins

Spices

Sugars, Starches, Cellulose

Vegetables

 

During the 1970s, I taught a course in Economic Botany at the State University of New York Center at Buffalo, in what was then Rachel Carson College. For teaching purposes and from general curiosity, over the years I gathered together a number of unusual items made from plants, and photographs that illustrated a range of economically valuable plants and manufacturing practices, under the general heading economic botany. Students found these interesting and informative, and I here share them over the Web with a few sparse comments.

 

Those who would like to duplicate such material simply need to frequent flea markets and the like, keeping an eye out for discarded materials from, for instance, small pharmacies now closed because of competition. Specialty grocery stores are also good places for the odd item. There is nothing like travel in foreign lands to amass strange and wonderful products. Also, by writing various manufacturing and trade organizations, or lobbying groups, that promote plant-based products, one can commonly receive free a rich variety of raw material and products in various stages of manufacture. Mention that you are a teacher. I remember vividly a gin bottle filled with various layers of the raw ingredients, such as juniper berries, also, from a beer manufacturer, large bundles of grains and hops, from a jute manufacture, enough beautiful yellow fine jute fiber to stuff a mattress (or maybe a chair, anyway). For addresses, check the Yellow Pages for Washington, D.C., and the Manhattan directory for New York City, under various listings.

 

R. H. Z.