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Wild food plants and minor crops in the Ripollès district (Catalonia, Iberian Peninsula): potentialities for developing a local production, consumption and exchange program

AuthorsRigat, Montserrat; Gras, Airy ; D'Ambrosio, Ugo; Garnatje, Teresa ; Parada, Montserrat; Vallès, Joan
KeywordsDemographic factors
Minor crops
Wild edible plants
Issue Date20-Oct-2016
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationJournal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 12:49 (2016)
AbstractBackground Wild food plants (WFP) have always been consumed by humans, first as the main basis of their food and, since the origins of agriculture, as ingredients of normal diets or as an alternative during situations of scarcity. In contemporary industrialized societies their use is for the most part being abandoned, but they may still play an important role. With the purpose of advancing in the ethnobotanical knowledge of one region of the Catalan Pyrenees, the present study reports the findings of a research project conducted in the Ripollès district (Catalonia, Iberian Peninsula), concerning ethnobotanical knowledge and use of wild and semi-wild vascular plants as foods, along with minor crops. Methods From August 2004 to July 2014, we performed 104 interviews (93 of which yielded data on food plants) with 163 informants, using the method of semi-structured ethnobotanical interview. We identified the plants quoted and kept herbarium vouchers. Results We detected 967 use reports for 80 wild or naturalized taxa, which are or have been consumed in the Ripollès district, the most cited being Taraxacum dissectum, Cynara cardunculus and Origanum vulgare. Certain frequently reported species such as Molopospermum peloponnesiacum and Taraxacum dissectum have only been rarely cited previously or indicated as food plant in very restricted geographical areas. Most cited families included Asteraceae and Lamiaceae, followed by Rosaceae and Apiaceae. Preferred consumed plant parts included leaves, followed by aerial parts, along with fruits and infructescences, while most wild food plants are eaten raw or used as condiments. Demographic factors such as age and locality of informants seem to be more relevant to wild food plant knowledge than gender. Middle-aged people and inhabitants from the Higher Freser River Valley seem to have a greater knowledge of WFP, both in relation to the number of species elicited, as well as the diversity of uses and preparations. To a lesser degree, women seem to have a slightly higher WFP knowledge than men. The consumption of these resources is still fairly alive amongst the populace, yet changes affecting younger generations–in most cases abandonment–have been reported by various participants. Conclusion The information provided by this kind of research permits the detection of those traditional species that could constitute the basis for the future development and management of wild edible plant resources along with minor crops. It also helps to determine the factors affecting their use, as well as the distinct target groups that such programmes could be addressed to.
Description16 p., gráf., tablas
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13002-016-0122-y
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