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The paper aims to evaluate the knowledge, diversity and cultural significance of …


Biology Articles » Ethnobiology » Traditional knowledge of wild edible plants used in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal): a comparative study

Abstract
- Traditional knowledge of wild edible plants used in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal): a comparative study

Research

Traditional knowledge of wild edible plants used in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal): a comparative study

Manuel Pardo-de-Santayana,2, Javier Tardío3, Emilio Blanco2, Ana Maria Carvalho4, Juan José Lastra5, Elia San Miguel2 and Ramón Morales

1Departamento de Biología (Botánica), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, c/Darwin 2, Campus de Cantoblanco, E-28049 Madrid, Spain
2Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Plaza de Murillo, 2. E-28014 Madrid, Spain
3Instituto Madrileño de Investigación y Desarrollo Rural, Agrario y Alimentario, Apdo. 127, 28800 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
4Escola Superior Agraria, Campus de Sta. Apolónia, 5301-855 Bragança, Portugal
5Universidad de Oviedo. C/Catedrático Rodrigo Uría s/n E-33071 Oviedo, Spain

Background

We compare traditional knowledge and use of wild edible plants in six rural regions of the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula as follows: Campoo, Picos de Europa, Piloña, Sanabria and Caurel in Spain and Parque Natural de Montesinho in Portugal.

Methods

Data on the use of 97 species were collected through informed consent semi-structured interviews with local informants. A semi-quantitative approach was used to document the relative importance of each species and to indicate differences in selection criteria for consuming wild food species in the regions studied.

Results and discussion

The most significant species include many wild berries and nuts (e.g. Castanea sativa, Rubus ulmifolius, Fragaria vesca) and the most popular species in each food-category (e.g. fruits or herbs used to prepare liqueurs such as Prunus spinosa, vegetables such as Rumex acetosa, condiments such as Origanum vulgare, or plants used to prepare herbal teas such as Chamaemelum nobile). The most important species in the study area as a whole are consumed at five or all six of the survey sites.

Conclusion

Social, economic and cultural factors, such as poor communications, fads and direct contact with nature in everyday life should be taken into account in determining why some wild foods and traditional vegetables have been consumed, but others not. They may be even more important than biological factors such as richness and abundance of wild edible flora. Although most are no longer consumed, demand is growing for those regarded as local specialties that reflect regional identity.

 

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2007, 3:27. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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