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Native American Food Plants: An Ethnobotanical Dictionary

By Daniel E. Moerman

An extremely detailed, comprehensive, and authoritative listing.


Based on 25 years of research that combed every historical and anthropological record of Native American ways, this unprecedented culinary dictionary documents the food uses of 1500 plants by 220 Native American tribes from early times to the present.

Like anthropologist Daniel E. Moerman’s previous volume, Native American Medicinal Plants, this extensive compilation draws on the same research as his monumental Native American Ethnobotany, this time culling 32 categories of food uses from an extraordinary range of species. Hundreds of plants, both native and introduced, are described. The usage categories include beverages, breads, fruits, spices, desserts, snacks, dried foods, and condiments, as well as curdling agents, dietary aids, preservatives, and even foods specifically for emergencies. Each example of tribal use includes a brief description of how the food was prepared. In addition, multiple indexes are arranged by tribe, type of food, and common names to make it easy to pursue specific research.

An essential reference for anthropologists, ethnobotanists, and food scientists, this will also make fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of wild and cultivated local foods and the remarkable practical botanical knowledge of Native American forbears.

Awards for this book: Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book

Media reviews

"An extremely detailed, comprehensive, and authoritative listing."


"Essential for Native American reference libraries and culinary collections alike!"


"Will appeal ... [to] anthropologists, scholars of Native American history, and culinary history experts."

American Reference Books Annual

"A vital sourcebook for cultural and botanical anthropologists."

Library Journal

"Useful as a reference for anthropologists, ethnobotanists, and food scientists."

SciTech Book News

About the author

Daniel E. Moerman

Daniel E. Moerman is the William E. Stirton Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan — Dearborn, so recognized for his distinguished scholarship, teaching, and professional accomplishments.

Read more about Daniel E. Moerman

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