A year-long ethnobotanical study was carried out in several indigenous communities on the Nieva River, in the Peruvian Amazon, to determine how the Aguaruna Jívaro identify trees of their local environment. Eight key informants provided freelists of tree names and in follow-up interviews explained how they identify 63 of the named trees chosen for detailed study. Voucher specimens were collected for the 63 taxa. This study made use of the Aguaruna concept of kumpají, glossed as companion, which denotes species thought to be morphologically similar but not subsumed under a shared name. Questions designed to elicit identification methods included asking what distinguishes each tree from other trees informants consider to be its companions. Results indicate that the Aguaruna rely on both sensory and ecological clues to identify trees. Sensory clues appear to play a greater role than ecological ones.
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