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Economic Botany


Dr. J.J. Vermeulen;
(+31) (0)71 527 1492.

This course, of lecture and demonstrations (1st week) and one written assignment (2nd week), gives a foundation in the genetical principles underlying domestication and the systematics of the major groups of crop and plants, with particular emphasis on tropical examples. The course will thereby allow students to appreciate not only the botany of cultivated plants, their structure, evolution, and systematics, but also the relevance of these studies to the economies of both temperate and tropical countries. Specific topics include e.g. origins of agriculture, food and other economic crops arranged to commodity groups (like roots, cereals, pulses, fruits, beverages, oils & fats, timbers & firewood crops, fibres & latex, pharmaceuticals, herbs & spices, and ornamentals. In the second week comprises a literature study in couples on a chosen objective, the results of which are orally presented on the last day and in a written assignment afterwards.

Methods of instruction:
lectures, demonstrations, written assignment

Study material:
Additional literature (not mandatory) C. Kalkman, Planten voor dagelijks gebruik. KNNV Utrecht 2003; D.J. Mabberley, The Plant-book (corr. 3nd ed 2008), Cambridge University Press

written assignment and oral presentation

Course requirements/recommendations:
Advised: Biodiversity year 2 and training flora usage are advantageous

Time table:


minimal 5, maximal 20 participants Course website
Available for information: J.J. Vermeulen;
p. 071 – 5271492
Costs of documentation: copies only for Leiden students