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Abstract Detail

History of Botany in the Rhode Island Area

Bussmann, Rainer W [1].

“I know every tree, every single tree one can see…” – The life and legacy of Richard E. Schultes.

If anybody could be named as “the father of Ethnobotany,” it would be Richard E. Schultes (1915-2001). No researcher has ever done more field research, more to promote the discipline, and has encouraged more students to become ethnobotanists, with almost every senior scientist in the field acknowledging some connection to Schultes. Well known scholars like Mike Balick, Robert Bye, Wade Davis, Doel Soejarto and Andrew Weil were all “Schultesians,” but Schultes also inspired generations of non-academics and always freely shared his time and advice. Schultes published almost two dozen books and almost 500 papers, collected over 30000 herbarium numbers, often with dozens of copies, conducted continuous fieldwork in the Amazon for over 14 years, and created what can only be called “the golden age of Economic Botany”.
How did Schultes’, growing up in a poor second generation immigrant family, come to such fame? Who was this man, fluent in ten languages, who spent his entire career linked to or at Harvard, and became the focal point of generations of useful plant researchers and plant users, and created this by any account magical work setting that gave unrivaled opportunities to students, staff and visitors? And how could it happen, that the legacy of a widely decorated scholar got quickly forgotten at his home institution, and his incredible plant material and artifact collection is left to accumulate dust in a Harvard attic?

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Missouri Botanical Garden, William L. Brown Center, P.O. Box 299, Saint Louis, MO, 63166-0299, USA

Economic Botany
Richard E Schultes.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY4
Location: Ballroom B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: SY4003
Abstract ID:37

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