The Society for Ethnobotany

Fostering research and education on the past, present, and future uses of plants by people.

About The Society for Ethnobotany

Economic Botany 2012 Poster Session

The Society for Ethnobotany (SEB) is about people exploring the uses of, and our relationship with plants, cultures and our environment—plants and human affairs. You might well call our research and educational efforts, the science of survival.

We were established as the Society of Economic Botany in 1959 and our mission is to foster and encourage scientific research, education, and related activities on the past, present, and future uses of plants, and the relationship between plants and people, and to make the results of such research available to the scientific community and the general public through meetings and publications.

Membership in SEB is open to all individuals interested in ethnobotany and in the promotion of research in this field.

With members from across the 50 U.S. states and more than 64 countries around the globe, SEB serves as the world's largest and most-respected professional society for individuals who are concerned with basic botanical, phytochemical and ethnological studies of plants known to be useful or those which may have potential uses so far undeveloped. It is recognized that the field of ethnobotany includes all or parts of many established disciplines such as: agronomy, anthropology, archaeology, chemistry, economics, ethnobotany, ethnology, forestry, genetic resources, geography, geology, horticulture, medicine, microbiology, nutrition, pharmacognosy, and pharmacology, in addition to the established botanical disciplines.

Economic Botany Poster Session


In a 1958 essay at the conference which was to found the Society for Economic Botany, David J. Rogers wrote, "A current viewpoint is that economic botany should concern itself with basic botanical, phytochemical and ethnological studies of plants known to be useful or those which may have potential uses so far underdeveloped. Economic botany is, then, a composite of those sciences working specifically with plants of importance to [people]." Ethnobotany is a growing field which emphasizes plants in context of the anthropological sciences. Some would say that science is what scientists do, perhaps the best definition of ethnobotany is found in the work presented in our journal and at annual meetings of the Society.

Our publication, ECONOMIC BOTANY, was founded in 1947 by Edmund H. Fulling at the New York Botanical Garden. William J. Robbins, then Director of the Garden, wrote in the first issue that this new botanical magazine would ";....serve as a common meeting place for botanists interested primarily in fundamental principles and others who are concerned with economic applications of those principles and with the industrial utlization of plants and plant products."

Economic Botany 2012 Poster Session

ECONOMIC BOTANY, is a quarterly international journal devoted to the publication of original research, review papers, historical studies, and book reviews. Recent issues have included such topics as ethnobotanical and phytochemical studies, research on origin and evolution of crop plants, the ecology and history of traditional food plants, and studies on arid land plants with potential for local development.