Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Technology

Major Professor

Mary Ann Bass

Committee Members

Elizabeth Yetling, Duane H. King


Wild plants have long been a component of the diet of the Cherokee Indians. In this study, traditional knowledge of edible wild plants as a food source has been shown to exist in present day Cherokee society and the use of and beliefs about wild plants and other natural resource foods have been documented from accounts on the historic Cherokee.

It was noted that knowledge of wild plants may be passed from one person or generation to another by word of mouth. Attitudes and beliefs toward the consumption of wild plants affected the use of this knowledge.

The active collection of data pertained to present day food use of wild plants by Cherokee Indians. Data pertaining to plant identification, season of procurement, and preparation and preservation methods were collected with use of an interview schedule.

There were 78 plants positively identified by the informants of this study. Season of availability governed the food use of the wild plants. Preservation methods were found to extend or eliminate this seasonal availability.

Some wild plants preparation and preservation methods could be grouped into standardized form. Standard preparation methods existed for some greens and fruit juices. Mixing or combinations of greens was noted to be prevalent; season of availability and flavor being the main determinants of the plants utilized. Present day use was made of canning and drying as preservation methods for the wild plants of this study. Freezing was noted as a little used preservation method of the wild plants of this study.

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