↓ Skip to main content

The use of Amerindian charm plants in the Guianas

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, September 2015
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (81st percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (83rd percentile)

Mentioned by

twitter
11 tweeters

Readers on

mendeley
42 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Title
The use of Amerindian charm plants in the Guianas
Published in
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, September 2015
DOI 10.1186/s13002-015-0048-9
Pubmed ID
Authors

Tinde van Andel, Sofie Ruysschaert, Karin Boven, Lewis Daly

Abstract

Magical charm plants to ensure good luck in hunting, fishing, agriculture, love and warfare are known among many Amerindians groups in the Guianas. Documented by anthropologists as social and political markers and exchangeable commodities, these charms have received little attention by ethnobotanists, as they are surrounded by secrecy and are difficult to identify. We compared the use of charm species among indigenous groups in the Guianas to see whether similarity in charm species was related to geographical or cultural proximity. We hypothesized that cultivated plants were more widely shared than wild ones and that charms with underground bulbs were more widely used than those without such organs, as vegetatively propagated plants would facilitate transfer of charm knowledge. We compiled a list of charm plants from recent fieldwork and supplemented these with information from herbarium collections, historic and recent literature among 11 ethnic groups in the Guianas. To assess similarity in plant use among these groups, we performed a Detrended Component Analysis (DCA) on species level. To see whether cultivated plants or vegetatively propagated species were more widely shared among ethnic groups than wild species or plants without rhizomes, tubers or stem-rooting capacity, we used an independent sample t-test. We recorded 366 charms, representing 145 species. The majority were hunting charms, wild plants, propagated via underground bulbs and grown in villages. Our data suggest that similarity in charm species is associated with geographical proximity and not cultural relatedness. The most widely shared species, used by all Amerindian groups, is Caladium bicolor. The tubers of this plant facilitate easy transport and its natural variability allows for associations with a diversity of game animals. Human selection on shape, size and color of plants through clonal reproduction has ensured the continuity of morphological traits and their correlation with animal features. Charm plants serve as vehicles for traditional knowledge on animal behavior, tribal warfare and other aspects of oral history and should therefore deserve more scientific and societal attention, especially because there are indications that traditional knowledge on charms is disappearing.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 11 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 42 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 2 5%
United States 1 2%
Netherlands 1 2%
Denmark 1 2%
Unknown 37 88%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 9 21%
Student > Bachelor 6 14%
Student > Master 5 12%
Student > Doctoral Student 5 12%
Student > Postgraduate 4 10%
Other 10 24%
Unknown 3 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 14 33%
Environmental Science 5 12%
Social Sciences 4 10%
Arts and Humanities 3 7%
Computer Science 3 7%
Other 9 21%
Unknown 4 10%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 8. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 July 2018.
All research outputs
#2,129,284
of 13,600,986 outputs
Outputs from Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
#93
of 589 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#36,457
of 202,201 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
#1
of 6 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,600,986 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 84th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 589 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 4.5. This one has done well, scoring higher than 84% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 202,201 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 81% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 6 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them