Distinguished Economic Botanists

The award of "Distinguished Economic Botanist (DEB)" is bestowed annually by the Society upon an individual on the basis of outstanding accomplishments pertinent to the goals of the Society. A nominee does not need to be a member of the Society. The Chairperson of the Nominations and Awards Committee shall be responsible for the citation which shall be published in Economic Botany. The only responsibility of the awardee shall be to present an address at the annual meeting the year of his/her selection. He/she shall become an honorary member of the Society for life.

Recipients of the Distinguished Economic Botanist award are:

2015, Dr. Daniel Moerman

Daniel E. Moerman is William E. Stirton Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at The University of Michigan-Dearborn. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1974. His first work related to plants emerged during his dissertation research with a rural black population in coastal South Carolina in the early 1970s. St. Helena Islanders told him of their complex theory of health involving a subtle system of pressures and flavors of the blood which, if things went badly, could cause various illnesses which they treated with a series of plants (called “weeds”) gathered from fields or planted in their gardens. Since then, he has done research primarily in two areas – medicinal plants (primarily of Native American peoples who originated the uses of most of the plants used by the Islanders), and of the impact on health of the knowledge and understanding of it that people have. His book Native American Ethnobotany (Timber Press, 1998) received the “Annual Literature Award” of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries for 2000. In 2002, his book Meaning, Medicine and the “Placebo Effect,” on the role of meaning in the healing process, was published by Cambridge University Press. He was appointed Editor in Chief of Economic Botany, the journal of the Society for Economic Botany, in 2004, serving for 5 years; and he served a term as President of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology. He is vice-chair of the Superior [Township] Land Preservation Society which has protected a number of important woods and fields in perpetuity. He is a dedicated woodworker, and he made the Society’s gavel (walnut, apple, white oak, and zebrawood).


Dr. Jan Salick






Dr. Will McClatchey


Dr. Djaja Djendoel Soejarto


Dr. Nancy Turner


Drs. Edelmira Linares and Robert Bye


Nina Etkin
2009 *




Michael Balick


Brent and
Elois Ann Berlin


W. Hardy Eshbaugh


Walter Lewis &
Memory Elvin-Lewis


Harold C. Conklin
[ Profile ]


Gordon Hillman


Daniel Zohary


Sir Ghillean Prance


Isabella Abbott
2001 *


James Duke




S. K. Jain


Hugh. H. Iltis


Carlos Ochoa
1997 *


Jack G. Hawkes
1996 *


Varro E. Tyler
1995 *


Walton C. Galinat
1994 *


Mildred Mathias
1993 *


Douglas Yen


N. W. Simmonds
1991 *


Herbert G. Baker
1990 *




Jack L. Beal
1989 *


Oswald Tippo
1988 *


Charles Rick
1987 *


E. Hernández X.
1986 *


Jack R. Harlan
1985 *


Charles B. Heiser
1984 *


N. R. Farnsworth
1983 *


William L. Brown
1982 *


William H. Tallent
1981 *


T. Whitaker
1980 *




R. E. Schultes
1979 *


Julia F. Morton
1978 *


* deceased