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Biology Articles » Ethnobiology » Ethnobotanical study of wild edible plants in Derashe and Kucha Districts, South Ethiopia » Background

Background
- Ethnobotanical study of wild edible plants in Derashe and Kucha Districts, South Ethiopia

Millions of people in many developing countries do not have enough food to meet their daily requirements and a further more people are deficient in one or more micronutrients [1]. Thus, in most cases rural communities depend on wild resources including wild edible plants to meet their food needs in periods of food crisis. The diversity in wild species offers variety in family diet and contributes to household food security. Numerous publications provide detailed knowledge of edible wild plants in specific locations in Africa [e.g. [2,3] and [4]]. All showed that wild plants are essential components of many Africans' diets, especially in periods of seasonal food shortage. A study conducted in Zimbabwe revealed that some poor households rely on wild fruits as an alternative to cultivated food for a quarter of all dry season's meals [5]. Similarly, in Northern Nigeria, leafy vegetables and other bush foods are collected as daily supplements to relishes and soups [6]. In Swaziland, wild plants is still of great importance and contribute a greater share to the annual diet than domesticated crops [7]. Various reports also noted that many wild edibles are nutritionally rich [7-9] and can supplement nutritional requirements, especially vitamins and micronutrients. Nutritional analysis of some wild food plants demonstrates that in many cases the nutritional quality of wild plants is comparable and in some cases even superior to domesticated varieties [10].
Earlier works showed that about 8% of the nearly 7000 higher plants of Ethiopia are edible. Of these, 203 wild and semi-wild plant species are documented [11]. Still many more wild species are believed to be edible and undocumented yet. More recently, some ethnobotanical studies have undertaken in some parts of the country. However, the majority of these studies have dealt with medicinal species and little emphasis has been paid to wild edible plants. This study has therefore sought to document indigenous knowledge related to uses of wild edible plant species and to assess the existing threats to wild edible plants in the study areas.

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