Reite Plants

Reite Plants

An Ethnobotanical Study in Tok Pisin and English

Authored by: Porer Nombo, James Leach

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Reite Plants is a documentation and discussion of the uses of plants by speakers of the Nekgini language, a people who reside in the hinterland of the Rai Coast in northern Papua New Guinea. High quality images and detailed information about traditional customary practices using plants provide a unique entry into understanding Nekgini social and cultural life. The book contains a discussion of the ownership of plant knowledge in the context of both local and contemporary global trends. As a dual language, co-authored text, the book is a unique contribution to the ethnobotany and anthropology of Melanesia. Reite Plants represents the product of a long term collaborative work between the authors.

This book makes an important contribution … Nombo and Leach provide an exciting example of how much a deeper exploration of cultural context adds to the field of ethnobotany. It will make very good company with the classic ethnobiological collaborative work of Saem Majnep and Ralph Bulmer on the birds and animals of the Madang highlands.
— Robin Hide, The Australian National University


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Jan 2010
Asia-Pacific Environment Monograph 4
ANU Press
Asia-Pacific Environment Monographs
Resources, Environment & Development (RE&D)
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies; Science: Biological Sciences; Social Sciences: Anthropology
Pacific: Papua New Guinea


Richard Scaglion, of the University of Pittsburgh, reviews Reite Plants: An Ethnobotanical Study in Tok Pisin and English in the latest Pacific Affairs (December 2012). Scaglion writes that the value of this “timely and vital volume” is that its preservation of indigenous knowledge, which is “being continually eroded and lost”.  Reite Plants ”brings together information on plants and their traditional uses by the Reite people while it is still available, and makes an important contribution to Western understandings of indigenous knowledge.”

(Scaglion, Richard. Review of Reite Plants: An Ethnobotanical Study in Tok Pisin and English, by Porer Nombo and James Leach. Pacific Affairs, December 2012, Vol 85, No. 4, pp. 872–873.)

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