Ethnobotanical uses and distribution status of Arbutus (Arbutus unedo L.) in Morocco
Keywords:Arbutus unedo L., ethnobotanical uses, prospection, ecology, Arbutus fruit.
Background: Arbutus is a fruit tree with high ornamental, environmental, economic and medical value, because of the properties attributed to different biological parts. Given this interest, the present study is interested in describing the distribution, ecology and ethnobotanical status of natural populations.
Methods: The range of this species has been largely prospected and explored to locate their natural populations and describe their distribution and conservation. For ethnobotanical uses of Arbutus in Morocco, we compiled available data from literature.
Results: The prospection of the Arbutus natural distribution areas in Morocco has shown that the species is growing in different biogeographical regions. Moreover, of its ecological plasticity and phyto-association, its resistance to mutilations and its great dynamism, it is very present in the everyday uses of foresters, farmers and rural populations. The international bibliographic analysis shows that the different biological parts of Arbutus, especially fruits, have been widely used by herbalists. The related literature is generally in line with the medicinal use of the plant by Moroccan inhabitants. On the other hand, the consumption and the industrial valorization of the fruits of Arbutus are very limited in Morocco in comparison with those on the international scale.
Conclusions: It is imperative to sensitize the local population and landlocked Douars on the knowledge of the valorization of the fruit of this species, and how to develop the marketing, the conservation and the transformation of fruits and by-products, and the production of new medicines and wellness products.
Key words: Arbutus unedo L., ethnobotanical uses, prospection, ecology, Arbutus fruit.
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