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Ethnobotanical study of wild edible plants in Dibatie district, Metekel zone, Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, western Ethiopia

J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2024 Feb 27;20(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s13002-024-00671-2.


BACKGROUND: Plants deliver livelihood and food for millions of people in the world. Indeed, wild edible plants support rural communities in developing countries to overcome seasonal unfavorable conditions. In rural areas of Ethiopia, wild edible plants play an indispensable role in fighting food insecurity as emergency or supplementary foods. Hence, this research was aimed at studying the ethnobotanical assessment of wild edible plants in Dibatie district, Metekel zone, western Ethiopia.

METHODS: Ethnobotanical data was collected using a semi-structured interview, field observation, focus group discussions, a market survey, and the ranking of selected plants. Besides, voucher specimens were collected and stored at the National Herbarium of Ethiopia. Descriptive statistics, preference ranking, direct matrix ranking, and familiarity index were computed for data analysis.

RESULTS: This study has documented 54 wild edible plant species belonging to 33 plant families and 46 genera. Of these, most (38.90%) had tree growth habits. Wild edible plants bear mostly fruits (72.20%) as edible parts. Local people usually consume these plants freshly raw as complementary foods, though some wild edibles require processing. They were mostly harvested in the January (31.48%) and May (27.78%) months, with the least collected in September (7.41%). Most wild edible plants (78.57%) were available in uncontrolled habitats, while others (21.43%) live in farmlands, home gardens, and as live fences. Out of the recorded plants, about 98% had additional uses besides their nutritional values.

CONCLUSION: Wild edible plants assist the livelihoods of the local people in food security, agriculture, energy sources, construction, medicines, ecological services, aesthetics, income generation, and household utensils. Nevertheless, wild edible plants are recently threatened due to various anthropogenic factors in the study area. Thus, they need wise use and in-situ and ex-situ conservation measures from all the concerned bodies for sustainable use in the future.

PMID:38413982 | DOI:10.1186/s13002-024-00671-2

By Nevin Manimala

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