The Society for Ethnobotany

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

European Chapter

Ethnobotany in Europe

The history of the study of useful plants in Europe pre-dates the advent of scientific botany with one of the earliest and most influential of European works being that of Pedianos Dioscorides' de Materia Medica dated fl. AD 77. This was followed by the explorations and scholarly works of the Medieval and Renaissance periods that drew attention to folklore, the traditional uses and ethnolinguistics of plants.

Europe's geographical, historical and linguistic richness has led to a myriad of ecological conditions and a diversity of cultural traditions that have helped re-establish and invigorate the interdisciplinary subjects of economic botany and ethnobiology through a new generation of researchers and ethnobotanical studies in new contexts. Bridging the gap between the biological and social sciences, modern European ethnobotany has brought new insights into the past and contemporary use of plants in Europe: conservation and the use of biocultural diversity, cross-cultural adaptations, cultural symbolism, gender relations, socio-economic changes, homegardens and climate change adaptation. Research is presently carried out right across Europe and strengthened by the recent surge and appreciation for regional identities, centers for research and public awareness and the rediscovery of historical archives and museum collections.

About the European Chapter

The first meeting of the European Chapter for the Society of Ethnobotany was held on March 14-15, 2009 at the University of Ghent in Belgium. The function of the chapter is to:

  • Consider the research priorities for European Ethnobotany
  • Facilitate the formation of collaborations between members across different regions
  • Promote ethnobotany and the Society for Ethnobotany in Europe
  • Enable knowledge sharing and exchange, leading to joint papers, proposals and so forth.
  • Encourage the organization of smaller, cheaper workshops e.g. to share methodologies, tackle specific research questions, train students
  • Co-organise meetings with other societies


Co-chairs: Renata Sõukard (Estonia, and Manuel Pardo de Santayana (Spain,

Ethnobotany Across Europe

For information regarding current work, courses, collaborations and initiatives across Europe click here


For information on past and future events click here

Members & Contacts

A list of members of the European Chapter will be available to access soon.