In this study, we analyzed plant knowledge in children living in three environments of northwestern Patagonia. Given the differential socio-ecological circumstances of children's lifestyles that condition their daily activities and perception-action patterns, we hypothesize that their plant knowledge will differ according to their socio-ecological environments. We conducted semi-structured interviews, in which children were asked to mention which plants they knew, what they used them for, how and where they had learned about plants, and whether they gathered or cultivated plants. We interviewed 73 children who were 11 to 12 years old from urban, semi-urban, and rural contexts. Our results showed similarities in the plant knowledge of children inhabiting the same type of socio-cultural environment. Children from rural habitats mentioned a greater diversity of plants, more native species, more plants for medicinal and edible use, and more trees and herbs than children from semi-urban and urban areas. Additionally, children from semi-urban schools cited higher plant richness and more native species, medicinal uses, and life forms than children from urban areas. Most of the plants named by all children were edible species, followed by medicinal, and then ornamental; they also cited more exotic than native plants. Most children referred to species used in their daily lives, suggesting the importance of embodied experience in relation to plant knowledge. The present study showed differential patterns of plant knowledge in children inhabiting distinct environmental contexts, indicating how experience promotes diverse cognitive abilities related to children's connection with plants.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1