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Sarah Edwards

Associate Lecturer and Plant Records Officer, University of Oxford

Sarah Edwards is an ethnobotanist and biodiversity informaticist, currently based at the University of Oxford, where she teaches ethnobiology and biological conservation. She is also Plant Records Officer for the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum and an Honorary Research Associate at UCL School of Pharmacy, where she was awarded her PhD in 2006. Her career has included working for Kew Gardens developing collections management, nomenclatural and medicinal plant databases. She also provided data consultancies for national and international conservation, environmental and government health agencies, regulators, and NGOs that use plant names.

As an ethnobotanist Sarah’s research interests include understanding how culture mediates people’s interactions and interrelationships with plants. Sarah has investigated medicinal plant use in northeast Brazil and worked in collaboration with First Nations communities in northern Australia, developing digital tools to facilitate intergenerational transmission of traditional plant knowledge. Other research projects have included investigating edaphic and phytochemical factors in the aetiology of equine grass sickness and the scientific evidence base of herbal medicines. Sarah has also collaborated with artists and farmers in South Wales to re-evaluate relationships with ‘weed’ species and worked with the London Borough of Richmond Arts Service as part of the Cultural Reforesting Programme.

Sarah is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and a Board member of the British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA). She is an author of several publications, including the books ‘Phytopharmacy: An Evidence-Based Guide to Herbal Medicinal Products’ (Wiley 2015) and ‘The Ethnobotanical’ (Kew Publishing/ Quercus Books 2023).