Comparative ethnobotanical studies were conducted with the Colorados, the Cayapas and the Coaiqueres of Coastal Ecuador. During the field campaigns in 1982-1987, almost 2000 vouchers were collected for which 1510 uses were recorded. The material was identified to 113 families and 396 genera. The number of species represented in the collections was 930, roughly estimated. Distinction is made between 73 different usage categories. Annotated plants lists are presented for each of these. The usage categories with most records of use overall are snake bite curing and temperature regulating baths. Gesneriaceae is the family mostly used in snake bite therapy. Edible fruits is the largest non-medicinal usage category. Several aspects of the ethnobotany of the Colorados stand out compared with the other Amerindian groups in Coastal Ecuador. Most of the aberrant features have probably been acquired during the last 50 years through contacts with cultures living in the Andes. The socio-political situations of the three groups studied differ which is strongly reflected in their use of the surrounding plant resources. Distinction is made between two determinants of ethnobotanical practices: inherent properties of the plant and cultural exchange. Elements of curing ceremonies and usage patterns are both cited as evidence for past cultural exchange at the local and regional level.
Comparative Ethnobotanical Studies of the Amerindian Groups in Coastal Ecuador
Genera: Many Genera