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n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - An ethnobotanical survey of wild vegetables in the Amathole District, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
As the world population is increasing, there is a need to diversify food plant resource in order to fulfil the growing demand for both nutritional and health care needs. This includes diversification of crops and crop varieties. Sustenance, genetic resource management and use of agrobiodiversity depend intensely on the extensive indigenous knowledge systems. This article, therefore, presents an inventory of the wild plants used as food as well as their socio-cultural profile, namely: vernacular names, their utility by the local communities with respect to the part of the plant consumed, frequency of consumption, mode of preparation, form of consumption and seasonal abundance.
An ethnobotanical survey of indigenous wild leafy vegetables (IWLV) was carried out in ten villages and five peri-urban settlements in the Amathole District within the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Samples of these plants were identified and collected in the presence of the informants. During a workshop with key informants application of triangulation-validation technique was done to ensure validation and verification of the data.
A total of 25 different IWLV species belonging to 16 families were identified and recorded. Nine edible plants were identified as frequently consumed. While it was evident in some communities that edible plants still play an important role, however, in other communities only few utilise the wild vegetables. Knowledge impartation of the plants to the youth tends to be lacking yet, the freely available resource is generally essential for all communities, particularly the growing and poorly resourced ones.
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