SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany

The course combines the study of the interaction of people and plants with a broad survey of the diversity of plants described both scientifically and culturally. Students will be able to identify, compare, and contrast the distinguishing morphological and reproductive characteristics of plants used by Micronesians; observe, describe, communicate, and experience the uses of plants in their cultural context.

Orthographic note: The spellings of local terms on the page herein are those provided by the students. The student presentations are done under the constructivist theory of education where knowledge is jointly built. The spellings and the spelling variants provide discussion points. There is no intent that these spellings are in any way to be construed as official spellings.

File format note: Some older files are in OpenDocument text and OpenDocument spreadsheet. These files can be accessed by using

Course information

Calendar and syllabus
Ethnobotany course blog
Text 4.3

Class Support Materials


Bananas on Pohnpei and banana patch garden with locations
SVP presentation group directions handout
Seedless vascular plants - bryophytes, lycophytes, monilophytes - hike in Palikir handout
List of plants often seen on the healing plants walk in Paies handout
Pwunso botanic garden at the Japanese agriculture station handout
Invasive plants of the Palikir campus handout
Vegetative morphology walk handout
Fruit types key handout
Botanic Herbarium
Term start student information survey
Botanic garden floraxls
Haruki with SVG floral formulas geolocated


Sacred and mythic plants in legend walkabout handout
Ethnobotanical Herbarium
Pohnpei campus traditional plants garden SVG
Healing plants presentations 2005-2007
Coconut oil uses spreadsheetxls
Legends of the stone
Pohnpeian language documents covering culture, the nahs, and the sakau ceremony
Psychoactive ceremony cost justification
Ceremony receipt odt
Ceremony thank-you letter odt

Ethnobotanical gardening

Invasives: Clidemia hirta
Ethnobotanical garden map as Scalable Vector Graphic in xhtml
Palikir SVG
Traditional plant garden ethnobotanical information sheets

Haruki cemetery pages

Haruki cemetery information
Kazuhide Aruga information
Plants of Haruki
Junk of Haruki
Haruki cemetery map as Scalable Vector Graphic in xhtml

Term specific material

Beginning with spring 2017 material was either integrated directly into the course text, placed in the flora, or assigned from within Schoology LMS. By spring 2018 an increasing amount of material was being distributed as one page handouts via Google Docs for use in the field. Rain means textbooks are not useful in the field, hence the use of single page handouts. Spring 2020 term ended on March 16 due to a global pandemic. Fall 2020 and Spring 2020 terms were fully online. Fall 2021 returned to residential instruction and introduced the use of Instructure Canvas.