Find Paper, Faster
Example:10.1021/acsami.1c06204 or Chem. Rev., 2007, 107, 2411-2502
Plant Knowledge in the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648): Retentions of Seventeenth-Century Plant Use in Brazil
Economic Botany  (IF1.731),  Pub Date : 2019-10-25, DOI: 10.1007/s12231-019-09469-w
Mireia Alcantara-Rodriguez,Mariana Françozo,Tinde van Andel

The Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (HNB, 1648) is the most complete treatise on Brazilian flora and fauna created in the seventeenth century. Scientists Marcgrave and Piso depicted hundreds of plants and described uses, vernacular names, and diseases in Dutch Brazil. We aimed to verify whether these plants are still used similarly, using herbarium vouchers and taxonomic literature to identify the species described in the HNB and reviewing historical and modern ethnobotanical literature to analyze whether the HNB documented specific plants and uses for the northeast region. We highlighted Old World species, as they indicate plant introduction before and during the trans-Atlantic slave trade and exchange of African ethnobotanical knowledge. Of the 378 species found in the HNB, 256 (68%) were useful, mostly used for healing and food in a similar way (80%) both in the seventeenth century and in modern Brazil. Only one species ( Swartzia pickelii ) is endemic to northeast Brazil, while the others are more widely distributed. The HNB includes one of the first reports on African crops in Brazil, such as sesame, okra, and spider plant. This study brings insights on indigenous and African plant knowledge retentions since the creation of the HNB and acknowledges its non-European contributors.