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Economic Botany

Economic botanists explore the interface between people and plants to describe the cultural uses of plants, explain the origin of specific useful plants and develop strategies for the sustainable use of plant resources. Ever since its founding in the late 19th century, The Field Museum and its scientists have studied the great variety of ways that people use plants. In fact the Museum's first Curator of Botany, Charles Frederick Millspaugh, had a special interest in economic botany and tropical plants which resulted in a direction and influence that continues at the Museum today.

The Natural Products Initiative aims to revitalize the tradition of economic botany at The Field Museum and to highlight the essential contributions of the plant world to our everyday lives.