This talk series explores the ways that plants and people interact through the lens of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Biocultural Collection. The objects in this collection, which range from simple carved wooden spoons to complex herbal compounds, are tangible evidence of the ways that plants and people interact. They are a valuable resource for understanding humanity’s biocultural heritage, and for the conservation of nature itself. They are also a means of preserving traditional knowledge, documenting livelihoods, and showing the lasting influence of ethnobotany on the diversity of human cultures.
“When a calabash is not just a calabash”: how it weaves traditions and identities in the Caribbean, with Betsabe Castro Escobar
Calabash trees have been a sacred plant for many cultures in the Americas, from Mexico to the Amazon to the Caribbean. The whole plant is useful to humans, from its very roots to its seeds. Yet, the gourd-shaped fruit has been the center of attention for many preparations. You can even appreciate intricate art pieces that tell us stories about our engagement with this plant. This talk will center a discussion around how our relationships with some plants weave, inform and affirm cultural traditions and identities. We will examine the calabash tree as a case study in the broader geographic Caribbean.
This talk will be in Spanish, with English translation available, as well as ASL interpretation. This presentation will be recorded for later viewing on the Missouri Botanical Garden YouTube channel.