Useful plants of West Tropical Africa
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CTA. 1989. Useful plants of West Tropical Africa . Spore 21. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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Burkill, H. M., 1985. The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa. Vol I. Families A-D. ISBN 0 947643 01 X Available from: Royal Botanic Gardens - Kew - Richmond Surrey TWO 2AE UK
The traditional knowledge of the uses of plants which has been accumulated over generations by trial and error is now being eroded by modern life and agriculture: in many cases the plants themselves are threatened with extinction. Before they and the memory of how to use them are lost, many useful plants of West Tropical Africa have been described in a book of the name. It has taken 15 years to update the first edition which was published in 1937. The number of positive uses plants can be put to as food, animal feed, for medicinal purposes and at cultural ceremonies, is very diverse. So-called 'negative' uses, such as arrow poisons, for example, are also included. As the book covers plant uses over a wide geographical area of tropical West Africa and further afield, the listing it gives of the uses of one plant by peoples in the 17 countries of West Africa makes an interesting comparison in ethnobotany. The Latin, English, vernacular and other appropriate plant names are given. An indication of the thoroughness with which the originaI publication of 612pp has been revised by H.M. Burkill is that among the references and indexes there is one of a single species with 115 uses. This reference volume, (families A-D) and the other three to come, provide a fascinating record of man's discovery and exploitation of plant properties. It demonstrates conclusively that the traditional knowledge and the plants themselves must be protected so that both new and traditional uses can be exploited by future generations. Burkill, H. M., 1985. The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa. Vol I. Families A-D. ISBN 0 947643 01 X Available from: Royal Botanic Gardens - Kew - Richmond Surrey TWO 2AE UK
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