UBD’s potential in botany cited
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
UNIVERSITI Brunei Darussalam (UBD) has tremendous potential in the study and propagation of plants, particularly those mentioned in the Quran and Bible, and should link up with other gardens in the world to firm up its capacity.
Professor Lytton John Musselman said this in a joint lecture entitled “Ethnobotany of Plants Mentioned in the Holy Writings” at the Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, ILIA building, UBD yesterday.
The lecture was jointly organised by UBD’s Institute for Biodiversity and Environment Research (IBER) and the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS).
Musselman is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar and Eminent Visiting Professor of IBER, UBD and a Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany, Old Dominion University, Virgina, USA.
Musselman suggested that Brunei established linkages with the Quranic Garden in Doha, Qatar because the two shared common interests.
The mission of the Quranic Botanic Garden is to promote knowledge of the plants, botanical terms and conservation principles mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.
“To have a quranic garden, we need to know the plants, where they are from and how to grow them,” Musselman said.
Ethnobotany is the science of how people use plants, a task that is challenging when dealing with ancient documents to determine with certitude the identity of a plant.
In his lecture, Musselman gave examples of plants from Southeast Asia, including aloes wood (gaharu in Malay) and camphor (kafur in Al-Quran).
A UBD press statement said there has been long standing interests in plants mentioned in holy books and that these plants have influenced the “way we view and talk about our native plants as well”.
Musselman also emphasised on the importance of culture in relation to plants.
“The Holy Quran and Bible were written in cultures that have appreciation of plants, so they reflect the cultures that they were inspired from. Plants produced powerful symbols because they are linked with cultures,” he said.
The Brunei Times