Consequences of the Loss of Traditional Knowledge: The risk of injurious and toxic plants growing in kindergartens

Vanesa Pérez Cuadra, Viviana Nora Cambi, María de los Ángeles Rueda, Melina Lorena Calfuán

Abstract


The plant kingdom is a producer of poisons from a variety of toxic species. Nevertheless prevention of plant poisonings in Argentina is disregarded. As children are more affected, an evaluation of the dangerous plants present in kindergartens, and about the knowledge of teachers in charge about them, has been conducted. Floristic inventories and semi-structured interviews with teachers were carried out at 85 institutions of Bahía Blanca City. A total of 303 species were identified, from which 208 are considered to be harmless, 66 moderately and 29 highly harmful. Of the moderately harmful, 54% produce phytodematitis, and among the highly dangerous those with alkaloids and cyanogenic compounds predominate. The number of dangerous plants species present in each institution varies from none to 45. Kindergartens have no landscaping plan and the majority of teachers ignore the existence of toxic plants. Appropriate actions integrating education, prevention and valuation of the natural environment are needed. 

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Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ISSN 1547-3465) is published online by the Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University.
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