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Economic Botany

5 ECTS Prague Year 2 Semester 3 Compulsory Environmental sciences ICI003E


Subject provides general information on relationships existing between plants and people in tropical and subtropical areas, encompassing the past, present, and potential uses of plants. It allows students to be acquainted with the principles and methodology of ethnobotanical practice as well as with related disciplines.


  1. Economic botany and ethnobotany: Definitions, categorization, history and status
  2. Field research methods: Collection and identification of plant samples
  3. Conservation and environmental guidelines: Bringing plants from abroad
  4. Ethnobotany and human nutrition: Underutilized and neglected crops
  5. Ethnopharmacology: Plants and human health care
  6. Socioethnobotany: Cultural and intellectual conservation
  7. Linguistic ethnobotany: Collecting and recording cultural data
  8. Economic botany: Local market inventory and analysis
  9. Agricultural ethnobotany: Domestication and new crop development
  10. Ethnoveterinary use of plants
  11. Paleoethnobotany and historical ethnobotany
  12. Plants in culture, religion and arts. Botanically remarkable species


Following topics will be covered: sources of ethnobotanical information; sociological interview techniques and linguistic ethnobotany practice; collection and herbarium voucher specimen processing, taxonomical identification and authentication of plants; biological activity testing of natural products; analytical methods in natural product chemistry; living plant collection excursion.

Learning outcomes

The graduates obtain complex knowledge of importance of economic botany and ethnobotany for developing word, agriculture, protection of natural resources and cultural heritage, nutrition and health of humans or livestock. They also have a basic knowledge of principles of related disciplines such as ethnoecology, ethnopharmacology, paleoethnobotany, or socioethnobotany.

The graduates obtain skills related to the methods of taxonomical identification of plants, collection and herbarium voucher specimen processing, sociological interview techniques and statistical analysis of ethnobotanical data. They are able to apply basic methods used for ethnobotanical and ethnoveterinary inventories.

The graduate is able to use English scientific terminology related to the subject. In his/her competencies, he/she can manage working activities and projects in Czech Republic as well as abroad.

Based on relevant information sources, field ethnobotanical methods, and experiences with elaboration of projects, the graduate is able to define problems related to the economic botany and suggest their solutions.

The graduates are able to use self-learning for study in relevant disciplines and develop their knowledge in related areas.

Teaching and learning methods

The course consists of lectures, seminars and labs. The lectures form the background for the seminars and labs, which are used to develop and to train the practical skills and knowledge relevant to the Economic Botany. During the seminars, the students practice their knowledge from the lectures and suggested readings. The students working in laboratories perform upon the supervision of the teacher the specific task assigned to them. All materials needed for study related to lectures and seminars are available via learning management system Moodle.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written assignment
  • To be eligible for the written exam the student must (the eligibility to participate in the exam is written in the students grade book before the date of the exam with the Czech word “zápočet” or in English “pass-eligible”):
    Participate in contact teaching (if the student misses more than 20% of classes without accountable reason s/he is not eligible for the exam.

    Submit in time the project on topic related to Economic Botany. The project is evaluated by the teacher as for the knowledge and competences demonstrated by the students through the project. During the project defense s/he has to answer additional questions related to the project in order to access students’ skills and get better information about their knowledge and competences.

    Once the student is eligible for the exam, the exam consists of: Test combining multiply choice and narrative answers. While the multiply choice questions check the knowledge of the students, narrative answers require students to demonstrate their competencies (in the terms of judgments, communication and argumentation). The answers are assessed in the points (max. 30 points). Total sum of the points is converted into grading used at CZU through ECTS grading procedure. The final grade is due to be announced in the day of the exam.


  • Location : Prague
  • ECTS granting : Czech University Of Life Sciences Prague
  • Organisation : Czech University Of Life Sciences Prague



Ladislav Kokoška