Winner of the 2005 Klinger Book Award
Presented by The Society for Economic Botany.
Florida Ethnobotany provides a cross-cultural examination of how the state’s native plants have been used by its various peoples. This compilation includes common names of plants in their historical sequence, weaving together what was formerly esoteric information about each species into a full reference. The author accomplishes the monumental task of translating the common names of species, which offers insight into plant usage and a glimpse into the culture of each ethnic group or tribe. These common botanical names often demonstrate how individuals fit into their societies and how these societies functioned. Although there have been previous studies of plants used by the inhabitants of Florida, this is the first comprehensive synthesis of this flora-rich region that was so pivotal in the history of New World exploration.
Winner! 2005 Klinger Book award
The Society for Economic Botany
“This is the most creative work on ethnobotany and economic botany I know. It is easy reading, well illustrated, and packed with an amazing and rich array of information. There is no precedent for Florida Ethnobotany.”
“Among the treasure troves of information are detailed etymologies of generic and specific scientific and nonscientific names. We are treated to wide-ranging listings and explanations including those of names and uses in the Caribbean and Latin America as well as places as distant as Europe, India, Africa, and the ancient world of Greece and Rome. Austin has even included Native American names and their etymologies from as far away as northwestern Mexico.
“There are 53 pages of introduction with explanations and extensive summary tables. I like the user-friendly innovation in the lengthy tables of a line drawn across the whole page to separate each entry. The literature cited spans 64 double-column pages, and the index covers 102 triple-column pages. The bulk of the book is an economic and ethnobotanical flora arranged alphabetically by genus and species. The species accounts treat 813 Florida species with documented uses. There are more than 500 line drawings, many of them original, and 16 pages of color plates, four species to the page.
“The application of the vast information in this work goes far beyond the boundaries of the state of Florida, and there is no way in the space allotted for this review to adequately cover the topics contained in this book. The price is hefty but so is the book. If you have an interest in economic botany and ethnobotany, as well as etymology of plant names, or the history of Florida and the Caribbean, you must have this unique work.”
Richard Felger, Drylands Institute, Tucson, Arizona, in Economic Botany 59 (3)
" … this book will offer important basic information to compare Asian culture with Native American culture in the field of ethnobotany. … I expect this book will become a model in ethnobotany.
—Yoshiaki Yoneda, Emeritus Professor of Shizuoka University, Japan
“…covers approximately 900 species with common names, interesting historical accounts, and various uses, from building materials, dyes, foods, fuels, medicines, ornaments, mystical mystical, and ritual… I can strongly recommend this book to all biologists, botanists, ethnologists, linguists,…and yes, even healthcare professionals, be they allopathic, alternative, herbal, homeopath, naturopath, nurse, nurse practitioner… Great reading!”
Jim Duke, Economic Botanist, USDA (ret.), from the Foreword
“The author has taken a broad approach to his definition of ethnobotany that includes much more than solely the botany of the indigenous Native American peoples. The result is a comprehensive treatment where comparison can be made between the names and uses of plants by the different peoples of Florida and of neighboring countries. This is a most thoroughly researched work, the contents and use of which will extend far beyond the boundaries of Florida.”
“…The variety of local uses for the plants is amazing. I particularly like all the information given about the derivation of names and the large number of different local names that exist for each species… This thoroughly researched and well-verified text will be of use to all people interested in plant uses for many years to come.”
Sir Ghillean T. Prance, School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading, UK, from the Preface
“This publication illustrates more than 500 plant species, including several beautiful drawings prepared by renowned artists, namely Penelope Honychurch and Pricilla Fawcett besides 16 pages of excellent full coloured inserts highlighting many plant species. There is an excellent combination of the locally gathered detailed information with in-depth study of earlier literature about each plant species which has been very rarely seen in the ethnobotanical publications. At the end, an exhaustive Bibliography has been provided to serve as a basis for further ethnobotanical studies followed by over 100 pages of index.
“This thoroughly researched and well-verified text will be of use to all workers interested in such studies in future. It will be extremely useful and will certainly serve as a model in ethnobotany for researchers, conservationists and forest managers. This publication is a must for libraries of institutions engaged in conservation and ethnobiological researches.”
—Ethnobotany, International Journal of the Society of Ethnobotanists, Vol. 17, Nos. 1 & 2, 2005
“A comprehensive work of value to the entire region and beyond.”
—Southeastern Naturalist, Issue 4/3, 2005
Florida – Then and Now
Florida's Lost Ethnobotany
The Florida People
Northern South American People
Old World Newcomers
First European Impressions
Indigenous and Other Utilization