Ethnobotanical study of Hyacinthaceae and non-hyacinthaceous geophytes in selected districts of Malawi
AbstractThis paper reports on the findings of a geophyte ethnobotanical survey in 15 selected districts of Malawi. The survey was initially driven by the need to document the use of Lilioid monocots of the family Hyacinthaceae and asses their conservation status. Altogether, 49 geophyte, both dicot and monocot species were documented as sources of food (24%), medicine (58%) and pesticides and ornamentals (18%). The most widely used plant species was Dioscorea odoratissima Pax. (Dioscoreaceae). Monocots represented 45% of the total number and the remainder (55%) were dicots. Members of the family Hyacinthaceae were only represented by 3 (6%) species Albuca abyssinica Welw. ex Baker, Ledebouria .revoluta (L.f.) Jessop and Ledebouria cordifolia (Baker) Stedje & Thulin. The study has further explored novel methods of evaluating sampling effort and estimating species richness using EstimateS. Results have shown that Michaelis-Menten Means estimator appeared to be the best estimator of species richness but was not able to accurately predict species richness for all the data combined but Bootstrap estimator instead was more accurate. It is also apparent from the survey that legumes and composites are most sought after for food and medicine than hyacinthoide monocots evidenced by fewer representatives mentioned by respondents.
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