Cultural importance of wild edible plants in three sympatric communities : Agni, Akyé and Gwa in the Department of Alépé (Southeast of Côte d’Ivoire)
Background: Wild plants are plants that are neither cultivated nor domesticated by humans. This study aimed to assess the knowledge level about wild edible plants used in the communities living in the same area.
Methods: An ethnobotanical survey was carried out in ten different villages which are parts of three studied communities. Two sets of surveys were used. The first type was a house-to-house based survey on free lists interviews. The second type of survey was a walk-in-the woods with some key informants identified by the communities. Frequency of quotation, Smith’s index and cultural importance index were used to estimate the knowledge level of the communities. Venn diagram, Jaccard similarity index and the hierarchical clustering were used to compare the distribution of the knowledge in the communities. Whereas the Kruskal-Wallis test and the Mann-Whitney test were used to assess the significance of difference in plants used by the communities.
Results: Through the studied communities, 43 wild edible plants were collected. Myrianthus arboreus, Dacryodes klaineana, Elaeis guineensis, Piper guineense and Spondias mombin were the most salient. Twenty-two plants are shared by these communities. There is a significant difference concerning wild edible plants shared simultaneously by the three studied communities whereas there is no significant difference about the usage-category. Wild edible plants are used mainly as fruits and vegetables in the studied communities.
Conclusion: The three communities have a high knowledge of wild edible plants. Moreover, fruits and vegetables are the most important usage categories. Finally, the interactions between the three communities bring about the sharing of the knowledge.
Keywords: Alépé, Côte d’Ivoire, Dacryodes klaineana, fruit, Myrianthus arboreus, quantitative ethnobotany, vegetables
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