Ethnobotany: Malay Ethnobotany

  • Rohani Longuet
Reference work entry

Is There Such a Thing as Malay Ethnobotany?

It is surprising that in a country as rich in floral species and knowledge as Malaysia, Malay ethnobotany – the knowledge that the indigenous Malays have of their flora – has not been studied as such. Lists of plants and their uses have been compiled, but not many systematic approaches on the perception of the flora by the local inhabitants have been made. That is probably because of the diversity of influences to which the country has been submitted through history. Complexity may be perceived as a lack of unity.

One must distinguish between the Malays living in Malaysia and the rest of the “Malay peoples” who have inhabited not only the Indonesian archipelago, but also areas from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, from Madagascar to New Zealand and Taiwan. It is possible to cover the subject by considering the particular heritage of the Malays that are presently living in Malaysia. These Malay groups have developed a common indigenous system...

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  • Rohani Longuet

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