The course deals with the biology of plant species of historical and cultural importance. It will focus on plants used as a source of drugs, herbal medicines, industrial raw materials, food products, perfumes and dyes. Examples of plant products that will be looked at include cocaine, chocolate, tea, opium, hemp and ginseng. The relevant morphology, physiology, distribution and ethnobotany of these plant species will be discussed.
Note: This course can be taken individually or as a part of a certificate program.
The course deals with the biology of plant species of historical and cultural importance. It will focus on plants used as a source of food, drugs, herbal medicines, industrial raw materials, perfumes and dyes. Examples of plant products that will be looked at include grains, root and tuber crops, Cannabis, tea, opium, wine, and absinthe. The relevant morphology, physiology, distribution and ethnobotany of these plant species will be discussed. A combination of readings and videos of important plant species will look at the history of their use; structures, features and constituents of importance; domestication, cultivation, harvesting and processing; and current issues surrounding their use.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Demonstrate the ability to participate in an informed discussion about the cultural, social, economic and spiritual importance of plants to better relate their relevance to everyday life;
- Recognize the characteristics of plants that make them useful as food, medicine, and industrial materials;
- Accurately describe the cultivation and processing of a diverse array of plants to understand how many products we use every day are produced; and
- Appreciate the impact that plants have had on the betterment of the human condition and personal pleasure and the unknown potential they still hold.
It is hoped that you will deepen your knowledge and awareness of plant biology and its implications for human development throughout history and in your daily life. The vehicle for this will be a combination of course readings, interactive websites, videos, your assignments, and informal online discussions.
- Botany Basics
- Agriculture and Plant Domestication
- Grains and Legumes
- Fruits and Nuts
- Stems, Leaves and Roots
- Herbs, Spices and Perfumes
- Medicinal Plants
- Ethnobotany and the Search for New Drugs
- Psychoactive Drugs
- Stimulating and Intoxicating Beverages
- Wood, Cork, Bamboo and Fibres
Prerequisites: BIOL*1050 or BIOL*1070
|Assignment 1: The Origins of your Food||15%|
|Assignment 2: Plant Profile||25%|
|Quizzes (3 x 10%)||30%|
|Online Final Exam||30%|
Applies Towards the Following Certificates
- Certificate in Environmental Citizenship : Electives
*Course details are subject to change.