Bedouin ethnobotany


In the book Bedouin Ethnobotany, there are some interesting things.

Bedouin Ethnobotany: Plant Concepts and Uses in a Desert Pastoral World
James P. Mandaville, 2011, ISBN 0816503435, 9780816503438, University of Arizona Press15 jun. 2011 – 352 pags.

The early term ethnobotany was firstly used in 1895 Harshberger, published 1896. He was concerned with the use of plants and not the concepts of the plant world (page 164)

– Quick Extract of some parts of the book – 

Chapter 5. Plants as concept and name.

The ancients (the al-awwalin, those who came first) probably know all the original plant names which they got during their creation. Qu’ran 2:31: he tought Adam the names of things.
In Gen. 2:19-20 it Adam can name things himself.

Bad omen called jinn/jann. singl jinni.

Dark desert plants: osaj/oshaj, oshaz. like lycium shawii.

Ancient tree worship in pre-islamic arabia.

Adam and Eve and the tree, called Zaqqum. It is is poisonous tree in hell, but also used as the forbidden tree in paradise. Associated to Marrubium vulgare L. And as noun: tannum for Chrozophora oblongifolio and shahhum for gagea reticulata.

note: According to John Gower in Book 7 of the Confessio Amantis, this plant was the herb of the fourth star of Nectanebus’ astrology, Capella. Gower uses the older name, Alhaiot (VII:1338). source

The Bedouin stick, is called miswak, made from the rook of the rak (salvadora persica)

5.2 Plant anatomical terms. p.161

A shrublet, a little shrub has the following parts:

flower: nuwwar
leaf: waragah
branch, twig: ghisn
fruit: thamar
seed: bizrah
main branch: fand
base, root crown: jidh, plural jdhu’ (firewood, aslo jrum, jirm). Somtimes ga’ah pl. ga’at or gu’
roots: irug. singular: irg

Manu different terms and words and variations are explained. Such as:
For trees with boles, trunk is called sag, pl. sigan, or tribal: ‘add pl. idud
In the Tribes in Najd, acacia rees call the spherical inflorescense baram or ballah (pl. blul, ballat). The fruit pods hibl (sngl.hiblah) or hanbal (sing.hanbalah)

pag. 178.

Noun, the term for all kind of plants in Arabic: nabat, from the root n b t.

Sprouting, growing: nabata (verb).

Botany: ‘ilm an-nabat (science of plants)

But the term nabat may as well be used for growth, sprouting.

5.3.3 Life forms

There are different forms of plants.

shajar: perennial plants (A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years.) “woody plants”

‘ishb: annual plants.

A shajarah is dayimah, lasting, continuous plant.

A ‘ishbah is a plant that “burns up” and become brown and dies.

A quality called kher is the Bedouin ideal of natural bounty, hospitality and generosity.

7.1 plant lore in space & time

The Maures classifiy plants as: 1) woody and ephemeral herbas: ‘ssdar (from sagar) and 2) ephemeral herbas appearing after rain:  therophytes