Folk Taxonomies and Biological Classification

Science  14 Oct 1966:
Vol. 154, Issue 3746, pp. 273-275
DOI: 10.1126/science.154.3746.273


A sample of 200 native plant names from the Tzeltal-speaking municipio of Tenejapa, Chiapas, Mexico, was found to consist of 41 percent that comprised more than one botanical species, 34 percent with a one-to-one correspondence, and 25 percent that referred to only a part of a botanical species. Cultural significance was least for the plants in the first group, greatest for those in the last group. Over half (60 percent) of the names for which there was one-to-one correspondence were plants associated with Hispanic culture, introduced as named entities following the Spanish conquest.