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21 December 2021 Dynamic Edible Plant Theoretical Knowledge in a Changing Western Mexican Rural Community
Alondra Flores-Silva, Ramón Cuevas-Guzmán, Geilsa Baptista, Miguel Olvera-Vargas, Ramón Mariaca-Méndez
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Abstract

The ability to name plants is part of one's theoretical botanical knowledge, which is neither static nor presented equally among all members of a cultural group. This article analyzes the intracultural variation of knowledge in the cultural domain of edible plant species among a rural population of western Mexico. We evaluate individuals' capacity to name plants, the salience of each plant, children's sources of this knowledge, and the socioeconomic factors that influence the amount of knowledge held. Freelists on local edible plant species were generated from 107 participants, including 37 children of middle childhood (MC), 27 preteens (PT), and 43 adults (A). A total of 102 species were mentioned across the lists for all three age groups. While each age and gender group presented variation in the species mentioned, a high level of overlap was found among the salient species. Group A mentioned twice the number of wild species as the PT and MC groups. Vertical knowledge transmission was more important for the children, and their ability to name the species differed significantly according to age, gender, and mother's occupation. Children with farmer-housewife mothers listed five more species on average than those with mothers in other occupational groups. The children listed fewer plants than adults, indicating differences between age groups and indicating the need for future studies to evaluate the factors that influence the transmission of knowledge amidst socioenvironmental changes.

Alondra Flores-Silva, Ramón Cuevas-Guzmán, Geilsa Baptista, Miguel Olvera-Vargas, and Ramón Mariaca-Méndez "Dynamic Edible Plant Theoretical Knowledge in a Changing Western Mexican Rural Community," Journal of Ethnobiology 41(4), 465-480, (21 December 2021). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-41.4.465
Published: 21 December 2021
KEYWORDS
cultural domain
freelist
intracultural variation
salience index
socioenvironmental changes
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