Lisa Aston Philander, Ph.D.

Academic Address: aston philander bio pic2

Plant Sciences Department, University of Wyoming.


Phone: (01) 612 961 8881

Specialty: Ethnobotany, Ethnomedicine, and Agroecology


  • Ph.D. University of Arizona
  • M.Sc. University of Kent, Canterbury & Kew Gardens
  • M.S. California Polytechnic University
  • B.S University of Minnesota

Research Interests:

Agroeocology: Social, economic and environmental dimensions of local food systems.
Methods include: value chain analysis, quantification of the bounty produced in home
and community gardens, phenological attributes, identification of the social and
biological origins of food plants. Designing energy-efficient indoor growing stations,
educational tools and materials for the general public and elementary schools outreach.
Ethnobotany: The origins of and the transmission of local knowledge of food and
medicine plants in urban areas. Methods include: interviews and pre- and post tests.
Developing curricula and workshops for schools and public.
Ethnomedicine: Identification of healers, medicinal plants and ethnomedical practices of
the collection and trade of medicinal plants. Methods include: surveys, interviews, and
community and home garden inventories, collection and cultivation of medicinal plants.
Developed community-based conservation strategies including workshops, a healers
reference guide, curricula for healer certification and opportunities for herbal cultivation.

Recent Publications:

Refereed Journals

Aston Philander, L.E., Makunga, N. & Esler, K. “The informal trade of
medicinal plants by Rastafari Bush Doctors in the Western Cape of South
Africa” Economic Botany. In Review.
Aston Philander, L.E., U. Norton, Baptista, P. “Sustainability of local vegetable
production at high altitude rangelands: Case study from Wyoming,
USA.“ Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. In Review.
Aston Philander, L.E. 2012 “Hunting Knowledge and Gathering Herbs:
Rastafari Bush Doctors in the Western Cape of South Africa.” Journal of
Ethnobiology 32 (2):134-156.
Aston Philander, L.E. 2012. “Response to Fay’s comments: Apartheid and the
Erosion or Preservation of Medicinal Plant Knowledge.” Human Ecology

Books, Chapters and Contibutions

Aston Philander, L.E. 2013. “Western Cape Bush Medicine: Hunting and Gathering
Coloured Healing Traditions ” for South Africa in Focus: Economic, Political and
Social Issues. Edited by Charl Wolhunter. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Aston Philander, L.E. 2012. “Conservation and Trade of Medicinal Plants in the Cape
Floristic Region” for Biodiversity Hotspots. Edited by Nadya Gotsiridze-
Columbus. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Book Review: Aston Philander, L.E. 2012. Review of “ Plant, Health and Healing on
the Interface of Ethnobotany and Medical Anthropology.” Edited by Hsu,
Elisabeth and Steven Harris for Anthropos 107, 2012/1.