Live at Lunch: Ethnobotany of Some Chinese 'Melons'

Live at Lunch is a monthly series where you can hear directly from curators, archivists, staff and researchers at the Royal BC Museum as well as fascinating community members and guests. 

Ethnobotany of some Chinese 'melons'

Did you know that most of the plants that you will eat today looked very different only hundreds of years ago? Some even used to be poisonous. Ethnobotany is the science of describing the interactions between plants and people. Thousands of years ago farmers in many parts of the world initiated the gradual process of changing wild plants into the edible cultivated plants that we enjoy today. Some food plants are also associated with fascinating stories. 

Curator of Botany, Dr. Ken Marr lived in China for two and a half years while studying the process of domestication of several species of the squash/cucumber/melon family. He will discuss what he learned about how humans have changed the biology of these plants and some of the traditional stories that villagers have about them. 

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Alexandra Weaver
Visitor Experience Manager