This paper examines the relationship between botanical composition of homegardens and the cultural background of their owners, as well as the multiple functions of tropical homegardens and the high diversity of plant species found there. In 2008, an ethnobotanical research study was conducted in 20 Maya and Mestizo homegardens in Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico, a zone of outstanding biocultural diversity. Interviews, inventories and a ranking system were used to identify the botanical composition, structure and infrastructure of the homegardens as well as the knowledge and behavior of Maya and Mestizo farmers related to the management and product processing of the homegardens. A total of 310 plant species from 94 families were identified, with a varied number of species within the sampled homegardens (32–141 plant species) and the villages (111–203 plant species). The most frequent use of plants was ornamental (41%), followed by food (35%) and medicinal use (30%). The floristic composition of the homegardens is strongly related to the socioeconomic conditions and cultural background of the farmer, and ornamental plants show the greatest difference between cultures. But neither gender nor culture has an impact on the farmers' evaluation of the different functions of homegardens.
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Vol. 33 • No. 1