March 2, 2021

Free Guide to Ethnobotany at the UCSC Arboretum Highlights Relationship Between Humans and Plants

The University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden sits on 135 acres and boasts rare and unique plant species, representing more than 300 plant families in Mediterranean climates. A special collection of rare, threatened, and unusual plants and flowers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and California are maintained including conifers, bulb-forming plants, and primitive angiosperms. Now, the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum offers a guide to ethnobotany, which provides a treasure hunt of sorts for visitors.  Ethnobotany is the study of knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses. Many of the indigenous people who lived along the coast between San Francisco and Monterey depended on these plants for various uses. Walking through the California native garden, the guide can be used to identify the plants on the tour which have been used as medicines, tools, clothes, dyes, religious instruments, and food. Native American Uses of California Plants can be downloaded prior to visiting and is also provided at the arboretum. 

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