Plants of Pohnpei Ethnobotanical Garden Visit

The SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany class visted the Pohnpei Traditional Plants ethnobotanical garden at the Pohnpei campus. This term Totoa had Ben lead the presentation. As I had explained to the class, ethnobotanical knowledge resides within a cultural and linguistic context. Having Ben present the plants in the language of their usage on the island on which the field trip was held was most apropos. The students had the opportunity to experience ethnobotany as an ethnobotanist might on an initial visit to a foreign culture.


Toa provides an introduction to the garden, explaining the purpose and intent of the garden as a place of learning and cultural conservation.


The class was by and large attentive. The loss of knowledge continues to be evident term-to-term as fewer and fewer students are able to name the plants of their islands and fewer still know the uses. A couple days later only a single student recognized kadiring in class. 
The class consists of twenty-eight students, three from Yap main island, two from Chuuk, none from Kosrae per se, one of Pingelapese heritage, one Pingalapese-Kosraean-Palauan, and the rest of the class are Pohnpeian.
Ben then led a guided \tour of the plants of the garden.
Ben covers the uses of Liwekkidenol (Glochidion marianum). Jilted by the one who made your stomach happy? This is the plant you need to achieve forgetfulness.
Skin fungus a problem? Tuhhke en kilinwai is the cure for you (Senna alata). Also useful for general itchiness of the skin. Rub young leaves on one's skin while bathing to reduce the itchiness.


The class owes an ongoing debt of gratitude to Toa and Ben for their assistance each term in starting off the ethobotany class on solid footing. Thanks too are due to Pohnpei campus for sharing the traditional plants of Pohnpei garden with the class!

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