A small section of the Plantae charts, with teaching notes.

Metadata Description

The tables produced for this study of Plantae consist of the following: 

All standard taxonomic groupings: Division (Phylum), Class, Subclass, Order, Family, Genus.

Additional grouping incorporated into the evaluation: Thorne’s Superorders, as well as the contemporary and sometimes past or alterantive recommendations for Subfamilies and Tribes.

Archaic groupings: Ranales

Paleobotany groupings: Lignosae and Herbaceae super-groupings; Paleodicots and Eudicots

Taxonomists’s work reviewed for this project: Linneaus, Engler and Prantl, Britten and Brown (American plants), Cronquist (more to come).

Chemotaxonomists’ work reviewed: Robert Thorne, Dahlgren (more to come).

 Taxonomic Levels for Original Charts:

  • Kingdom
    • Division/Phylum
      • Class
        • Subclass
        • Superorder
          • Order
            • Family
            • Subfamily
            • Tribe
              • Genus

Columns for ethnobotany data

Major Categories

  • Wood/Fiber
  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Poisons
  • Aromatics
  • Polymers
  • Dyes
  • Triterpenoids



  • Wood/Fiber
    • Wood
    • Fiber
    • Charcoal
    • Other
  • Food
    • AlcBevg (Alcoholic beverage)
    • BEVG (beverage)
    • ep (entire plant)
    • ygpt (young part)
    • stem/stalk
    • lf (leaf)
    • ff (flower)
    • frt (fruit)
    • sd/nut (seed nut)
    • rt/tu/rh (root, tuber, rhizome)
    • starchrt (starchy root)
    • sp/flav (spice or flavoring)
    • bark
    • pith/pulp
    • sap
    • syrup
    • other
    • unkpt (unknown part)
  • Medicine
    • MedFolk (subcategories are work in process)
    • MedSele (subcategories are work in process)
  • Poisons
    • Px-g (general poison)
    • Anim (animal poison)
    • Insect
    • Pisc (piscicide)
    • CN (cyanogenic)
  • Aromatics
    • E-oil (essential oil, terpenoid or phenolic or other)
    • STL (sesquiterpene lactones)
    • Coum (coumarins)
    • furoC (furocoumarins)
    • pyranoC (pyranocoumarins)
  • Polymers
    • MucoPS (mucopolysaccharide)
    • gum
    • balsam
    • resin
    • latex
  • Dyes
    • tannin
    • flavtann (flavotannins)
    • Anthocy (anthocyanin)
    • AnthraQ (anthraquinones)
    • dianthr (dianthrones)
    • other
  • Triterpenoids
    • Sterol
    • Sap (saponin)
    • AlkSter (alkaloid steroid)
    • SapTx (sapotoxin or sapogenin)
    • rTT (reversed triterpenoids)



There are several major categories missing from the above lists: 

  • seed oils
  • alkaloids
  • flavonoid types other than anthocyanin and flavotannins,
  • iridoids
  • phenolics
  • other terpene groups
    • monoterpenes/sequiterpenes
    • diterpenes

These are reviewed separately, since they have very mixed applications in terms of ethnobotany.  At some point, they will be merged with the above data for a separate presentation. 

Some groups have very limited distribution in terms of ethnobotanical importance.  There are several groups that as research continues, are expect to appear more applicable to inclusion in this review.  The benzylisoquinoline alkaloids for example have numbers human and natural ecological and environmental features attached to the reasons for their presence.  The classic uses are most important for this review.  Scientific progress will no doubt find many more subcategories for specific plant product uses.  Identifying these fairly infrequent if not rare, and sometimes misappropriated or misclaimed uses, as a part of these tables would be produce more a table of exceptions and unqie findings rather than a table that demonstrates the most basic features shared between plant groups.  Like I said on another of my web pages, Occam’s Razors can be detrimental to searches developed for the identification of shared features and similarities.  These tables are meant to provide insights more at an ethnobotanical level, at the pre-industrial level, not the Occam’s razor level so common to plant products research.