The topic is introduced by Robert Temple in his publication The Genius of China as follows: The Chinese were the first people to notice and use the connection between the types of vegetation which grow in certain areas and the minerals to be found underground at the same localities. The use of botanical observation in this way to find minerals is known as geobotanical prospecting. In modern times insufficient attention has been paid to this practice, and many of the ancient Chinese findings have not been investigated. There are, however, some widely recognized examples of plants which grow in soil too rich in certain minerals to be tolerated by other plants.
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How to cite Botanical methods of prospecting involve the use of vegetation in searching for ore deposits. Although these methods have been used for several centuries, there is much confusion about terminology because there are two distinct methods of botanical prospecting. Geobotanical methods are visual and rely mainly on an interpretation of the plant cover to detect morphological changes or plant associations typical of certain types of geologic environments or of ore deposits within these environments.
Geobotanical methods were first used in Roman times when vegetation was employed in the search for subterranean water. Later the Russian botanist Karpinsky became the first man to study thoroughly the relationship between plant communities and their geologic substrate. A number of books have appeared on the subject of This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. References Aery, N. Google Scholar Bazilevskaya, N. Sibireva, , Change in the color of the corolla in Eschscholtzia californica under the influence of microelements in Russian , Bull.
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Books A "most faithful" indicator plant is Ocimum centraliafricanum , the "copper plant" or "copper flower" formerly known as Becium homblei, found only on copper and nickel containing soils in central to southern Africa. It is well known for its tolerance of high levels of copper in the soil, and is even used by geologists prospecting for precious metals. In , Stephen E. Haggerty identified Pandanus candelabrum as a botanical indicator for kimberlite pipes, a source of mined diamonds.