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Drimys winteri: Circulation of Environmental Ignorance in European Written Sources (1578–1776)



From 1578, knowledge of Drimys winteri, a tree species native to Chile and Argentina, was circulated in European written sources. Based on reports of travelers to the Strait of Magellan, European authors presented this specimen to European audiences, stressing its similarity with other European plants and generally excluding Indigenous and local knowledge. During the colonial era, the circulation of environmental nonknowledge about the studied plant unleashed confusion and misidentifications, lasting until 1776, when scientists assigned it its current binomial name. Nevertheless, the long-term effects of environmental ignorance can be identified, and we argue that they are significant.