The introduction of an invasive weed was not followed by the introduction of ethnobotanical knowledge: a review on the ethnobotany of Centaurea solstitialis L. (Asteraceae)

Branco, Soraia, Irimia, Ramona, and Montesinos, Daniel (2023) The introduction of an invasive weed was not followed by the introduction of ethnobotanical knowledge: a review on the ethnobotany of Centaurea solstitialis L. (Asteraceae). PeerJ, 11. e15489.

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Abstract

Invasive plants are known for their impacts to ecosystems and societies, but their potential cultural use tend to be unexplored. One important mechanism of plant invasion is the use of “allelochemicals” or “novel weapons”: chemical defenses which are new to their invaded habitats and that confer them competitive advantages. However, these chemicals are precisely what confers them ethnobotanical and medicinal properties. We reviewed the literature assessing the biogeography of the cultural uses of the model invasive plant yellow-starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis L.; Asteraceae), and assessed the extent to which the introduction of a weed native to Eurasia into several non-native world regions was paralleled by the spread of cultural uses from its native range. We found that the species was rich in pharmaceutically active compounds and that the species had been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, as raw material, and as food. However, ethnobotanical uses were reported almost exclusively in its native range, with no uses described for the non-native range, apart from honey production in California, Argentina, and Australia. Our study exemplifies how, when plant introductions are not paralleled synchronously by significant human migrations, cultural adoption can be extremely slow, even within the native range of the species. Invasive species can provide real-time insights into the cultural processes by which humans learn to use plants. This case study highlights how biological invasions and cultural expansions can be subjected to different constraints.

Item ID: 78894
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2167-8359
Copyright Information: Copyright 2023 Branco et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2023 00:18
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 30%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440103 Biological (physical) anthropology @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310802 Plant biochemistry @ 30%
SEO Codes: 21 INDIGENOUS > 2199 Other Indigenous > 219999 Other Indigenous not elsewhere classified @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180602 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments @ 50%
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