Ethnobotany Final

The final examination is a take home examination consisting of an essay.

Type up your essay and either leave it on my computer at my office desk OR email it to me at by 5:00 P.M. on Monday 16 May 2005. Some of your email addresses are unrelated to your name, so if you send your paper via email make sure your name is on your paper!

On the essay question keep your writing clear and legible. Take your time and do your best to use correct spelling and grammar. Think carefully and plan your essay. Be reflective, support your statements with specific examples where appropriate. Refer to the grading rubric at the end of this paper for guidance on the grading scheme which will be used. The essay should be on the order of 300 or more words.


During this term the course has covered plants and their use in four areas:

  1. Plants for healing
  2. Plants as food
  3. Plants used in material culture: building, transporting, clothing, accessorizing
  4. Plants used traditionally for their psychoactive properties

In this multi-paragraph essay you are to give specific examples of usages of plants, one for each of the four areas. The catch: there are four areas (medicine, food, material culture, psychoactive) and four states. While you need to cite only one example for each area, you must include all four states in your essay.

This means that for each of the four areas you will choose a single example from a single state, and then you cannot again cite an example from that state. Thus if you cite an example of a traditional plant-based food from Chuuk, then your examples for healing, material culture, or psychoactive cannot come from Chuuk.

Thus you will have four examples taken from the presentations during the term, one from each state. Note this does NOT mean you will have to cite 16 examples, one from each state for each area. You will be citing only a single example from a single state in each of the four areas - a total of only four examples.

Plan carefully. My guess is that you will have to use Pohnpei or Yap for the fourth area, psychoactive substances, unless you are aware of some other traditionally used botanical psychoactive preparation for another cultural group.

When describing an example, include the local names in that language for the medicine, food, material cultural item, or psychoactive usage. If the student provided a name in their language for the plant, include that as well.

In the conclusion to your essay you might comment on the extent to which the examples you cited are still practiced by the people of that culture.

Ultimately this essay should demonstrate that you have learned something about each other's usage of plants from each other.


Structurally the essay is likely to consist of six or more paragraphs. Six would be the minimum in which to introduce the essay, cover each area in one paragraph, and wrap up with a conclusion.

Essay grading and marking rubric

5 No errors of grammar or word order.
4 Some errors of grammar or word order but communication not impaired.
3 Errors of grammar or word order fairly frequent; occasional re-reading necessary for full comprehension.
2 Errors of grammar or word order frequent; efforts of interpretation sometimes required on reader's part.
1 Errors of grammar or word order very frequent; reader often has to rely on own interpretation.
0 Errors of grammar or word order so severe as to make comprehension virtually impossible.
5 Appropriate terms used consistently, clear command of vocabulary, no misspelled words.
4 Occasionally uses inappropriate terms or relies on circumlocution; expression of ideas not impaired; or a few misspelled words.
3 Uses wrong or inappropriate words fairly frequently; expression of ideas may be limited because of inadequate vocabulary.
2 Limited vocabulary and frequent errors clearly hinder expression of ideas.
1 Vocabulary so limited and so frequently misused that reader must often rely on own interpretation.
0 Vocabulary limitations so extreme as to make comprehension virtually impossible.
5 Material exceptionally well organized and connected.
4 Material well organized; links could occasionally be clearer but communication not impaired.
3 Some lack of organization; re-reading required for clarification of ideas.
2 Little or no attempt at connectivity, though reader can deduce some organization.
1 Individual ideas may be clear, but very difficult to deduce connection between them.
0 Lack of organization so severe that communication is seriously impaired.
5Consistent choices in cohesive structures.
4Occasional lack of consistency in choice of cohesive structures and vocabulary but overall ease of communication not impaired.
3'Patchy', with some cohesive structures or vocabulary items noticeably inappropriate to general style.
2 Cohesive structures or vocabulary items sometimes not only inappropriate but also misused; little sense of ease of communication.
1 Communication often impaired by completely inappropriate or misused cohesive structures or vocabulary items.
0 A 'hotchpotch' of half-learned misused cohesive structures and vocabulary items rendering communication almost impossible.
5Fully complete and thorough answer to the task set. Four areas and four states covered as specified.
4Relevant and adequate answer to the task set. Answers of less than 250 words will be penalized by dropping the score by one point from what would be appropriate for a full-length script. Missing a state or area.
3For the most part answers the tasks set, though there may be some gaps or redundant information. Missing two state or areas.
2Answer of limited relevance to the task set. Possibly major gaps in treatment of topic and/or pointless repetition. Missing three states or areas.
1The answer bears almost no relation to the task set. Inadequate answer.
0No evidence of assigned task.

You must cite any sources used. Failure to cite sources, or copying and pasting information and not putting it in quotes with a citation will cause one to receive zero points for this test.