Local Knowledge of Plants and Their Uses Among Women in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia


  • Matthew Wayne Luizza Colorado State University
  • Heather Young Larimer County Natural Resources, Fort Collins, CO
  • Christina Kuroiwa Hartshorn Health Center, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • Paul Evangelista Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • Aserat Worede Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris, PO Box 3658 Addis Ababa
  • Rainer Bussmann Missouri Botanical Gardens
  • Amber Weimer Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO


ethnobotany, Ethiopia, local ecological knowledge, women's plant knowledge


Women’s local ecological knowledge (LEK) is noted by many scholars to be unique and important for local conservation and development planning. Although LEK integration is inherent to ethnobotanical research, in Ethiopia, the knowledge-gender link has not been fully explored, and few studies focus on women’s distinct plant knowledge. We catalogued rural women’s knowledge of a wide range of plant uses in south-central Ethiopia, conducted through picture identification of 337 local plants. Fifty-seven plant species were identified, constituting 38 families, with the top five families being Lamiaceae, Solanaceae, Asteraceae, Rosaceae, and Pteridaceae. An array of uses were identified ranging from food, livestock and wildlife forage, to honey production and cosmetics. The most prevalent use noted (nearly 70%) was human medicine. This study reveals the important contribution of rural women’s plant knowledge in the Bale Mountains, and the potential benefits of including this gender-distinct understanding of local flora in community-based conservation planning.

Author Biography

Matthew Wayne Luizza, Colorado State University

PhD Student 

Graduate Degree Program in Ecology 




How to Cite

Luizza, M. W., Young, H., Kuroiwa, C., Evangelista, P., Worede, A., Bussmann, R., & Weimer, A. (2014). Local Knowledge of Plants and Their Uses Among Women in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 11, 315–339. Retrieved from https://ethnobotanyjournal.org/index.php/era/article/view/885