Useful Plant Categorization

Equivalencies of plant use categories among MOBOT, IUCN, and KEW (MOBOT categories are in bold type).


MOBOT 1. Food- human
IUCN 1. Food- human
KEW 0100 Food, 0200 Food Additives
MOBOT 2. Food- animal
IUCN 2. Food-animal
KEW 0300 Animal Food, 0400 Bee Plants, 0500 Invertebrate Food
MOBOT 3. Medicines- human & veterinary
IUCN 3. Medicines- human & veterinary, 4. Poisons
KEW 1100 Medicines, 0900 Vertebrate Poisons, 1000 Non-vertebrate poisons
MOBOT 4. Chemicals
IUCN 5. Manufacturing chemicals, 6. Other chemicals
KEW 0600 Materials
MOBOT 5. Fuels
IUCN 7. Fuel
KEW 0700 Fuels
MOBOT 6. Fibers
IUCN 8. Fibre, 10. Wearing apparel, accessories, 11. Other household goods
KEW 0600 Materials
MOBOT 7. Cultural Uses
IUCN 10. Wearing apparel, accessories, 12. Handicrafts, jewelry, decorations
KEW 0600 Materials, 0800 Social Uses
MOBOT 8. Construction/structural materials
IUCN 9. Construction/structural materials, 11. Other household goods
KEW 0600 Materials
MOBOT 9. Environmental
IUCN 13. Pets/display animals, horticulture
KEW 1200 Environmental Uses
MOBOT 10. Other
IUCN 14. Research
KEW 1300 Gene sources


KEW Economic Botany Data Colection Standards -



  1. 1. Food – Human
    1. 1.1 Beverages
    2. (alcoholic and non-alcoholic, stimulants, calmatives, juices, non-medicinal teas, etc.)
    3. 1.2 Condiments, herbs, spices
    4. (relishes, sauces, salsas, chutneys, garnishes, pepper, seasonings, etc.)
    5. 1.3 Vegetables & fruits
    6. (pickles, salads, jams and jellies, dessert fruits, etc.)
    7. 1.4 Legumes, pulses
    8. (lentils, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, beans, dals, etc.)
    9. 1.5 Grains, rice
    10. (oatmeal, cereals, breads, cakes, rice, quinoa, barley, etc.)
    11. 1.6 Root and tuber carbohydrates
    12. (potatoes, yams, cassava, taro root, cocoyam, achira, etc.)
    13. 1.7 Nuts
    14. (acorns, almonds, candlenuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, seeds consumed as nuts, etc.)
    15. 1.8 Oils, Gums
    16. (olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, other cooking oil, gum arabic, carrageenan, cellulose, guar gum, locust bean gum, pectin, etc.)
    17. 1.9 Additives
    18. (clarifier, colorant, emulsifier, extender/thickener, fermenting agent, flavoring, preservative, sweetener, tenderizer, vinegar, etc.)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  2. 2. Food – Animal
    1. 2.1 Fodder/forage/graze/silage
    2. (hay, straw, grasses, grain, root crops, kale and rape, etc.)
    3. 2.2 Browse
    4. (buds, leaves, and twigs of woody species consumed as food, etc.)
    5. 2.3 Invertebrate food
    6. (any plants consumed by invertebrates for food, including bee plants, silkworm food, caterpillar and butterfly plants, etc.)
    7. 2.4 Fruits
    8. (any fruit consumed by animals for food)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  3. 3. Medicines – Human and Veterinary
    1. 3.1 Blood and Circulatory system
    2. (anemia, aorta, blood, blood clotting, blood pressure, blood vessels, bone marrow, brain circulation, capillaries, chest pain, gangrene, heart, heart attack, heart beat, heart disease, heart valves, hemorrhages, lung circulation, plasma, platelets, red blood cells, sickle cell anemia, spleen, veins, white blood cells, etc.)
    3. 3.2 Dental
    4. (cavities, gums, lips, mouth, saliva, salivary glands, teeth, teething, tongue, tooth cleansing, etc.)
    5. 3.3 Digestive system
    6. (abdomen, anal fissures, anus, appendicitis, appendix, bile duct, bloating, colitis, colon, constipation, diarrhea, digestion, duodenum, gall bladder, gallstones, gas, gastroenteritis, heartburn, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, indigestion, intestines, irritable bowel syndrome, laxative, liver, motion sickness, nausea, esophagus, pancreas, rectum, stomach, stomach ulcers, vomiting, etc.)
    7. 3.4 Endocrine system (hormones)
    8. (adrenal gland, diabetes, dwarfism, goiter, growth, hypothalamus, pancreas islet cells, parathyroid, pineal gland, pituitary gland, thymus, thyroid gland, etc.)
    9. 3.5 Female and Male reproduction
    10. (abortion/miscarriage, breasts, cervix, clitoris, corpus luteum, eggs, epididymis, fertility, Fallopian tubes, female contraception, foreskin, genital tract, hymen, impotence, infertility, labia, labor & birth, lactation, libido, male contraception, menopause, menstruation, morning sickness, nipples, ovaries, oviduct, ovulation, penis, placenta, PMS, pregnancy, prostate, puberty, scrotum, semen, sperm, vas deferens, venereal diseases, vagina, vulva, “women’s diseases”, etc.)
    11. 3.6 Urinary system
    12. (bladder, incontinence, kidney cells, kidneys, kidney stones, ureter, urethra, urinary tract, urination, urine, etc.)
    13. 3.7 Immune system
    14. (lymph, lymph glands, lymph nodes, lymph vessels, lymphocytes, etc.)
    15. 3.8 Metabolic system/fevers/nutrition
    16. (amino acid metabolism, antioxidants, appetite, blood sugar, body temperature regulation, calcium metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, chills, cholesterol, dehydration, energy metabolism, fat metabolism, fluid, electrolyte & acid balance, gout, iodine deficiency, malnutrition, mineral deficiencies, mineral metabolism, obesity, sweating, vitamin deficiencies, etc.)
    17. 3.9 Muscular-skeletal system
    18. (ankles, arms, arthritis, back, bones, bone fractures, cartilage, chest, connective tissue, dislocations, elbows, face, fat tissue, feet, fingers, fractures, frostbite, hands, head, hips, jaws, joints, knees, legs, ligaments, muscle ache, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, muscles, muscle relaxants, muscle stimulants, neck, ribs, shoulders, skull, smooth muscles, spine, sprain, strain, tendons, thighs, toes, vertebrae, wrists, etc.)
    19. 3.10 Nervous system & mental health
    20. (alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, antidepressants, autonomic nervous system, brain, brain damage, brain stem, brain ventricles, bulimia, central nervous system, cerebrum, coma, confusion, convulsions, cranial nerves, delirium, delusions, dementia, depression, dizziness, drug addiction, facial nerves, fainting, ganglia, headache, insanity, insomnia, mental health, memory loss, migraines, motor nerves, neurotransmitters, nightmares, parasympathetic nervous system, peripheral nervous system, sensory nerves, sleep, spinal cord, stroke, sympathetic nervous system, tremors, etc.)
    21. 3.11 Respiratory system
    22. (asthma, breathing, bronchioles, congestion, coughing, diaphragm, emphysema, hay fever, hiccups, larynx, lungs, nasal tract, nose, pharynx, pneumonia, respiratory mucosa, shortness of breath, snoring, thorax, throat, tonsils, trachea, wheezing, etc.)
    23. 3.12 Sensory system
    24. (blindness, blurry vision, cataracts, color blindness, corneas, deafness, eardrums, ears, ear wax, eyelids, eyes, eye movements, glaucoma, hearing, hearing loss, pupils, retinas, smell, taste, tears, touch, vision, etc.)
    25. 3.13 Skin and related tissue
    26. (acne, beard, blisters, boils, bruises, burns, calluses, dermatitis, dandruff, eczema, eyebrows, fur, hair, hair follicles, hair loss, hives, hooves, itching, nails, rashes, scalp, skin, sores, sunburn, sunscreen, sweat glands, etc.)
    27. 3.14 Infections, parasites, fungus
    28. (AIDS, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, bacterial infections, chicken pox, colds, cold sores, disinfectants, dysentery, fleas, flukes, food poisoning, fungal infections, hookworm, influenza, lice, malaria, rabies, ringworm, scabies, tapeworm, viral infections, etc.)
    29. 3.15 Inflammation, pain
    30. (allergic reactions, general anesthetics, local anesthetics, pain, pain relievers, etc.)
    31. 3.16 Poisons/antidotes
    32. (antidotes for bites and insect stings; causing death, mutagenic, teratogenic effects, etc.)
    33. 3.17 Zoopharmacognosy
    34. (plants that animals self-administer as medicine, etc.)
    35. 3.18 “Humors”
    36. (cold, dampness, heat, wind, etc.)
    37. 3.19 Belief systems
    38. (bewitchment, evil eye, sacred diseases, spells, susto, etc.)
    39. 3.20 General, nonspecific symptoms
    40. (fatigue, malaise, swelling, weakness, etc.)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  4. 4. Chemicals
    1. 4.1 Latex, rubber
    2. (guayule latex, chicle, gutta-percha, etc.)
    3. 4.2 Resins, non-edible gums
    4. (mucilages, turpentine, rosin, pitch, pectin, wood creosote, amber, sterculia gum, gum ghatti, kino gum, etc.)
    5. 4.3 Oils (non-edible), waxes, soaps
    6. (essential oils, tung oil, oiticica oil, tall oil, hydrogels, carnauba wax, candelilla wax, jojoba wax, sugar cane wax, bayberry, saponins, etc.)
    7. 4.4 Dyes, paints
    8. (linseed oil, soy-based ink, dammar resin, henna, indigo blue, annatto, madder root, larkspur, etc.)
    9. 4.5 Tannins, flavonoids, other polyphenols
    10. (tannin, anthocyanins, flavonols, glucosides, isoflavones, etc.)
    11. 4.6 Aromatics
    12. (frankincense, myrrh, incense, perfume, etc.)
    13. 4.7 Solvents
    14. (wood alcohols, tall oil derivatives, etc.)
    15. 4.8 Adhesives
    16. (tall oil derivatives, gum acacia, gum tragacanth, etc.)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  5. 5. Fuels
    1. 5.1 Firewood, charcoal
    2. (tinder, logs, kindling, leaves, roots, charcoal, etc.)
    3. 5.2 Oil, alcohol, resins, wax
    4. (non-edible oils, wood alcohols, saps, etc.)
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  6. 6. Fibers
    1. 6.1 Cloth, thread, clothing, apparel
    2. (cloth, sacking, clothes, hats, helmets, sandals, scarves, shoes, slippers, raingear, etc.)
    3. 6.2 Paper
    4. (paper, paper substitutes, cardboard, etc.)
    5. 6.3 Baskets/fiber containers/fiber household goods/fiber handicrafts
    6. (basketry, bags, blankets, carpets/rugs, curtains, cushions, pillows, wall hangings, placemats, coasters, hammocks, mattresses, etc.)
    7. 6.4 Rope/netting/string
    8. (rope, cord, string, twine, yarn, etc.)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  7. 7. Cultural uses
    1. 7.1 Handicrafts (non-fiber)
    2. (wood carvings, plates, bowls, picture frames, pottery, wreaths, etc.)
    3. 7.2 Recreational/games/sports/toys
    4. (fishing equipment, hunting equipment, balls, sports bats, racquets & sticks, skis & snowshoes, board games, dice, dolls, puzzles, etc.)
    5. 7.3 Religious
    6. (ritual plants, sacred plants, magic/mysticism, rosaries, etc.)
    7. 7.4 Accessories, jewelry, cosmetics
    8. (beads, belts, hair oil, hair dye, hair conditioner, skin lotions/creams, skin lighteners/darkeners, tattoos, lipsticks, body paints, body deodorants, hair combs & brushes, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, shaving equipment, tooth cleaners, etc.)
    9. 7.5 Musical instruments, art
    10. (flutes, pipes, drums, lutes, guitars, violins, harps, sculptures, mobiles, totem poles, etc.)
    11. 7.6 Psychoactive drugs
    12. (hallucinogenic mushrooms, intoxicants, narcotics, snuff, smoking materials, etc.)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  8. 8. Construction/structural material
    1. 8.1 Timber
    2. (beams, columns, planks, wooden poles, stakes, wood boards, wood chips, etc.)
    3. 8.2 Furniture
    4. (beds, bed frames, cabinets, chairs, couches, stools, tables, wardrobes, etc.)
    5. 8.3 Building materials
    6. (non-timber building materials, non-wood boards, etc.)
    7. 8.4 Tools, utensils
    8. (non-fiber household goods, farming tools, bobbins, spools, carpentry tools, mortars & pestles, graters, hammers, mallets, ladders, needles, rakes, shovels, tool handles, chopsticks, forks, knives, spoons, spatulas, whisks, weapons, etc.)
    9. 8.5 Transportation
    10. (boats, canoes, oars, paddles, carts, gliders, rafts, trailers, wagons, wheels, etc.)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  9. 9. Environmental
    1. 9.1 Barriers/boundaries
    2. (living fences, living stakes, hedges, tree-lines, shade/shelter, etc.)
    3. 9.2 Erosion control
    4. (ground covers, windbreaks, water retention, etc.)
    5. 9.3 Fertilizers, soil improvement
    6. (mulches, nitrogen fixers, soil structure improvement, soil quality improvement, etc.)
    7. 9.4 Ornamentals
    8. (landscaping, lawns, private gardens, botanic gardens, parks, sports turfs, etc.)
    9. 9.5 Pollution control
    10. (wastewater purifiers, air pollution reducers, sewage treatment, etc.)
    11. 9.6 Pest control
    12. (insect repellant, weed control, plant disease control, plant pest control, vermin control, household pest control, timber protection, human or animal disease vector control, etc.)
      Other / NA
      (When selecting this subcategory, you will be required to enter usage information in the Notes category.)

  10. 10. Other
    1. 10.1 Research
    2. (plants used in or as the subject of any kind of research)
    3. 10.2 Genetic resources
    4. (wild relatives of major crops which have qualities such as disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought resistance, high yield, etc., that could be of value in breeding programs)