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Tag Archives: ethnobotany

Tree Tales: Canada’s Threatened Trees

Canada’s trees have developed some resistance to native diseases and insect pests. However, climate change has been facilitating more forest damage. For example, the native Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) used to be held in check because it was killed by extremely cold winter temperatures, which occur less frequently now than they used to. Additionally, in the last 125 years, the importation of live trees and untreated wood from other…

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF INDIGENOUS AGRICULTURE

One of the most significant contributions that America’s Indigenous peoples have made is with respect to agriculture. Many of our most beloved foods (e.g. chocolate, potatoes, corn) are native to the Americas, being initially cultivated or domesticated by Indigenous farmers. Ancient Agriculture Indigenous agriculture has a long history with the most recent archaeological evidence suggesting it has been practiced in the Americas for at least 10,000 years, almost the same…

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Everything you know about taste is wrong

Tasting is something we do everyday but many of the things we think we know about taste are actually wrong. So let the debunking begin! Myth #1: You taste food with your tongue. Fact: Your sense of taste involves your tongue AND your nose. When you are sick with a cold, food doesn’t taste very good. This is not because your taste buds aren’t working-it is because your nose isn’t…

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Drinking Christmas (trees, that is)

At the Museum’s recent Surviving the Apocalypse Night participants were asked a variety of questions about the nutritional value of certain foods. Sadly, very few people knew that you can make a beverage high in vitamin C from…Christmas trees! The Indigenous peoples of North America have long known of the health-giving properties of some cone-bearing (also called evergreen) trees. In Canada, First Nations peoples drank an herbal tea of evergreen…

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Craziest Botanical Explorers in History

As the opening of the National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers exhibit at the Museum draws near, I find myself remembering some of the botanical explorers I learned about when I was a student. Although these botanists lived at different points in time they shared one thing: an insane passion for plants that very nearly caused their demise!

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