Ethnobotanical Survey of Useful Species in Bustamante, Nuevo
José Ángel Villarreal-Quintanilla
María Magdalena Rodríguez-Salinas
Juan Antonio Encinas-Domínguez
Guillermo Romero Figueroa
José Ramón Arévalo
Published online: 11 December 2017
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017
Wild food plants
Mexico has one of the most rugged reliefs on the planet
(Rzedowski 1978), which, together with its varied climatic
conditions, mean that it has a huge range of plant species
comprising between 4 and 8% of the planet’sflora
(MacNeish 1992). However, despite this rich plant diversity,
there is little information on their ethnobotanical uses, espe-
cially in some regions, such as in the State of Nuevo León.
The information currently available essentially deals with
temperate and semiarid areas in central (Estrada et al. 2007)
and southern regions (Estrada-Castillón et al. 2014).
We present here the results of an ethnobotanical study car-
ried out in Bustamante, a municipality located in a semiarid
region 100 km north of the regional capital, Monterrey
(INEGI 1986). The main livelihoods of Bustamante residents
are based on growing domesticated plants such as corn and
pecan nuts (Carya illinoinensis), and on pulque (regional te-
quila) production. There are several wild species that also
contribute to the regional economy, such as Brahea dulcis in
handicrafts, and Litsea pringlei, Poliomintha bustamanta,
Lippia gravelones, and Croton suaveolens, which are used
as condiments and for medicinal purposes. The area is reason-
ably developed in terms of infrastructure; the inhabitants live
in concrete houses, and electricity, piped drinking water, tele-
phone and internet access are all available. There are also
elementary, middle, and high schools.
The flora of this northern region is used regularly by its
population. However, most of the knowledge on cultivated
and wild medicinal plants in this area has never been recorded.
Therefore, the main aim of our study is to report the knowl-
edge of local people about traditional uses of local plants and
the specific patterns of use.
Bustamante is located in the northern region in the State of
Nuevo León (26°35′N, 100°31′W) (Fig. 1). It has a surface area
of 558 km
population consists of 3300 inhabitants, 95% of whom live in
the city and the rest on ranches and in small villages (ejidos).
The climate in the low plains corresponds to a desert type
with cool winters; the annual mean temperature ranges from
18 to 22 °C, and the average annual rainfall reaches 400 mm.
Mountains in the area show a dry steppe climate type, with
lower temperatures, but higher average annual rainfall
(720 mm) (INEGI 2011). Three main plant communities have
been identified in the area: Tamaulipan thornscrub, piedmont
scrub, and mixed forest (oak-pine) (INEGI 1986). All these
plant communities are in relatively good condition, since there
are no heavily degraded areas due to overuse or vegetation
clearing (INEGI 1986).
* José Ramón Arévalo
Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo
León, Linares, Nuevo León, Mexico
Departamento de Botánica, Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio
Narro, Buenavista, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico
Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Exactas, Universidad Autónoma de
Baja California, Rosarito, Mexico
Departamento de Botánica, Ecología y Fisiología Vegetal, Facultad
de Ciencias, Universidad de La Laguna, Islas Canarias, Spain
Human Ecology (2018) 46:117–132