Ethnobotanists study indigenous plants used by specific cultures for specific reasons such as food, shelter, clothing, hunting, medicine or religious ceremonies. They combine elements of botany anthropology, sociology, phytochemistry, medicine and agriculture in their intensive studies. They therefore, need to be knowledgeable about plants as well as different cultures. They also need to be aware of the dynamics of different cultures and how these cultures work. Ethnobotanists also work closely with local healers within native cultures to explore and examine a particular cultures’ concept of disease and treatments.

What they do:
·         go on expeditions to explore valuable clues about plants and also search for new nutritious and flavourful plants not yet discovered
·         do intensive research, collect information and do regional studies on the cultures, ecology and environment of the people in the area they are exploring
·         gather medical, chemical and biological information on the plants used by the people in the region
·         record their findings
·         advise authorities on the loss of tropical plants, the knowledge associated with these plants, the civilisations and cultures to be lost, and the potential damage to be caused to the Earth’s ecological balance
Where to study:
Universities: UJ, UP, UKZN, Unisa, UL, UZulu, RU
Companies to work for:
Research institutions, pharmaceutical industry, educational institutions, medical industry, chemical industry, food industry