This companion volume to Siri von Reis’s previous exploration of ethnobotanical notes in the Harvard herbaria brings to light a new array of plants with drug or food potential, offering wide-ranging possible applications for pharmacologists, chemists, botanists, and even anthropologists. Following the same criteria as in earlier investigations, the authors have examined the vast holdings of The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium to select little-known plant uses and to record any note suggesting biodynamic constituents—i.e., those having effects on living tissue—from skin irritants and poisons and medications of any kind to foods, beverages, and spices. They have also included species whose applications suggest other kinds of unreported chemical activity, plants associated with magic or ritual which affected people in some unusual way.
Listing the notes in the order in which the species were found in the collection, family by family, the authors call attention to similar characteristics in related species and families having biodvnamic properties in common. Each entry begins with the Latin name of the specimen, cites the country in which it was collected, the collector’s name, and his held number for the plant, and then quotes the ethnobotanical or other note of interest.
While in itself a valuable reference work in the search for clues to useful plants, New Plant Source for Drugs and Foods also will enhance the value of the first volume by allowing a comparison of entries.