SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany test two

  1. Describe as fully as you can why local starches such as taro and breadfruit are recommended to diabetics while starches such as rice are to be avoided.
    The key concept is that rice converts more rapidly into sugar in the body than local starches such as taro and breadfruit. Rice and other refined starch products (breads, pasta) are considered "simple" starches chemically, while taro and breadfruit are chemically more complex. The result is that blood sugar levels peak at very high levels very quickly after eating rice, while taro and breadfruit result in lower peak blood sugar levels. Another result is that the rice is more quickly converted to energy and is thus used more quickly by the body. Taro, breadfruit, and yams take longer to convert, and thus the body has a longer period of time over which to use the energy from the sugar. This means that it will be a longer period of time before the body seeks a "reloading" of its food energy stores - a longer time before you will feel hungry again. Note that both foreign and local starches convert to about the SAME amount of sugar, the key diference is the speed at which the starch is converted to sugar. Foreign starches do not contain poisons per se. And while local starches do contain more nutritionally important trace elements and minerals than refined foreign starches, these additional nutrients are not known to prevent diabetes. Up to two points.
  2. On Thursday the 20th of October students brought traditional plant-based foods of their culture. Choose one of the foods brought that day from a culture from another state from your own state. Give the name of the food in the language of the group who presented the food, describe how the food is prepared, and the plants that were used to make the food.
    The choice had to be from another state. There is an inherent advantage for those from multi-cultural states if they are allowed to use a culture already extant in their own state. Note: Konen pulo is the name the Mortlockese group gave for their food. Of interest: No one tried to spell Bu'oy ni im. Correctly spelled local name in the language the food was presented: 1 point. Correct description of preparation: 1 point. Correctly identifying the plant: 1 point. A particularly well written and complete explanation could earn an additional quality point.
  3. What are the characteristic differences between dicot and monocot leaves?
    Most students described the difference between dicot and monocot flowers, especially focusing on the petal count. The question asked about the leaves. Monocots typically have parallel venation, dicots have a net-like venation. 2 points
  4. leaf diagramLabel the parts of this leaf: Note that "rachis" is usually used for fern midribs and compound leaf central ribs to which the leaflets are attached. See original handout. One point for each correctly spelled label identifying the correct plant feature.
  5. Sketch one of the flowers in the laboratory. Correctly identify the four whorls, label the parts of the flower to the best of your ability. Include whether the flower is a dicot or monocot.
    flower diagram A plant cannot have superior and an inferior ovary. In a plant with an inferior (below) ovary, the ovary is below the calyx and corolla, in a plant with a superior (above) ovary, the ovary is above the calyx and corolla. In the superior case, the ovary appears to sit "inside" the flower, rather than below or behind the flower. This question had the potential to generate the most points. One point for each of the four whorls being included in the drawing. One point for each correctly spelled label attached to the correct flower part. This question also sought to reward those who might be a good artist, but not necessarily good at memorizing plant parts. Thus a good, well done, complete, accurate drawing was worth two points. A below average, overly simplistic drawing was worth a single point. A drawing that showed great attention to detail, showed great diligence and care in drawing, and looked more like artwork earned three points.
  6. What is a "culture bound syndrome"?
    Denotes locality specific patterns of aberrant behaviour. Usually refered to as a "disease" but as such is known only in one particular location and is always an integral part of a culture. The cure is usually also uniquely local - western medicine might not recognize the ailment as a disease and may or may not have treatments for the condition. Two points.
  7. What is a "managed landscape"?
  8. This proved difficult for most students to answer. A managed landscape is a natural environment that has been altered by intentional human interaction. A landscape that people are actively controlling and modifying. This might be a farm, a park, a conservation area, or a reserve. It could also be the landscape of a college campus, or the shoulders of the roads. Many people answered other questions such as "What is deforestation?" or "What is conservation management?" Two points.
  9. Explain the "doctrine of signatures in which "like cures like".
    In this doctrine, physical similarities between an ailment and a plant are used to choose a plant to treat the ailment. Thus a kidney shaped leaf might be construed as curing kidney disease. A yellow root might be used to treat the jaundice (yellow skin, eyes) associated with hepatitus. Two points.