This website presents data collected by Dr. Deborah M. Pearsall and students at the University of Missouri's Paleoethnobotany Laboratory during the Phytoliths in the Flora of Ecuador (PFE) project. The lab operated as part of the Department of Anthropology's American Archaeology Division, which is directed by Dr. Michael J. O'Brien. The PFE project ran from 1997 to 2008, with periodic work through 2015. It was funded by two grants to Pearsall from the National Science Foundation Archaeometry program. As described on the next screen (FLORA OF ECUADOR), the goal of the Phytoliths in the Flora of Ecuador project was to establish diagnostic phytolith types and phytolith vegetation signatures for the region to enhance archaeological and paleoenvironmental phytolith applications.

This website presents several kinds of data from the PFE project as well as other resources for phytolith researchers. Click on the IMAGE DATABASE link to access that resource directly*.  The website is organized as follows:

  • FLORA OF ECUADOR: About phytoliths, about the project, description of the image database, suggested readings
  • MATERIALS: Phytolith production tables (compiled from the literature), the MU Classification System, order tables (from the PFE project), counting forms, Malvales discussion (from the PFE project)
  • ABOUT US: Paleoethnobotany laboratory, people

How to cite the image database:

Pearsall, Deborah M. "Phytoliths in the Flora of Ecuador: The University of Missouri Online Phytolith Database." []. With contributions by Ann Biddle, Dr. Karol Chandler-Ezell, Dr. Shawn Collins, Dr. Neil Duncan, Bill Grimm, Dr. Thomas Hart, Dr. Amanda Logan, Meghann O'Brien, Sara Stewart, Cesar Veintimilla, and Dr. Zhijun Zhao.

*Clicking on the link may take you to a list of links; the ImageDatabase link is in the second half of the list. You may have to click on this link several times before it opens. When the opening screen appears, select guest and click login (no password is required).

Phytolith data Phytolith data 2 Phytolith data 3