Plants for People
Many, many thousands of plants are used by people. Food plants alone number well over 20,000 species. Additionally, plants are used for medicines, oils, latex, resins, perfumes, fibers, dyes, tannins, ornamentals and many more products. These plants make up our Biocultural Collections, which we organize both by plant species and by artifact. You can choose how to enter our collections: 

Selecting “Biocultural Collections” will bring up thousands of objects in our Biocultural Collection made from plants or used to process plants. You can access clothing, baskets, papers, toys, household goods, foods, medicines, tools, fans, brooms, hammocks, canoes, sacred objects, jewelry and many, many more artifacts from around the world.

Selecting “Plant Profiles” will bring up basic information about useful plants from around the world and link to multifarious references and collections. We look at these species from various viewpoints: scientific, popular, artistic, anthropological, archaeological, historical and so forth. We hope this interdisciplinary outlook will stimulate new perspectives on Plants for People. You can search for these plant species both by name and by use category.

This project received partial funding from Institute for Museum and Library Services grant # MA-31-17-0432-17 awarded to Jan Salick, PhD, Senior Curator.