Title

The identification of Xanthorrhoea resins by starch morphology: Prospects for archaeological and taxonomic applications

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Parr, JF 2002, 'The identification of Xanthorrhoea resins by starch morphology: Prospects for archaeological and taxonomic applications', Economic Botany, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 260-270.

The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com, http://dx.doi.org/10.1663/0013-0001(2002)056[0260:TIOXRB]2.0.CO;2

Abstract

For Australian Aboriginal people plant resins have played an important role in both trade and the manufacture of hafted tools. In particular, the resins of theXanthorrhoea species were widely distributed and favored resources. The aim of this pilot study was to: (1) determine if starch grains were present in all of theXanthorrhoea resin samples examined, and (2) determine the feasibility of discriminating between resins of differentXanthorrhoea species by the morphological attributes of their starch grains. The results established that starch grains were present within all of theXanthorrhoea species resins that were examined. Moreover, for the purpose of identifying resins from within this genus the preliminary results suggest that starch grains have sufficient differences in attributes to allow discrimination between species. The results suggest that further research into the morphological attributes of starch grains in resins may prove to be an efficient and cost-effective means by which species identification could be achieved for small portions of archaeological resin samples.