Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 1328-36, 2009.
Wild Edible Plants
Used By the Tribes of Akole Tahasil of Ahmednagar District (Ms),
Khyade M. S.1*, Kolhe S. R.1 and Deshmukh B.S.2
Post Graduate Department of Botany,
D.J. M.Commerce and
Comm. and D. R. Science College Akole, Dist. Ahmednagar- 422601 (MS),
*Correspondent author, E mail- email@example.com
Issued: October 01, 2009
present communication deals with the ethnobotanical
exploration,identification,concerns and future potentialities of the wild
edible plant species consumed by the tribal communities inhabiting in the
hilly areas of akole tahasil of Ahmednagar district fall in Maharashtra
Since the time immemorial, useful plants have been handled by human societies for medicinal and food purposes. While, the hunter-gatherer societies still continue to profess such lifestyles. Throughout history, wild edible plants have sustained human populations in each of the inhabited continents. Human consumption of wild plants has been documented from antiquity into the Common Era. Dietary use of wild fruits, nuts, seeds, and leaves appear in numerous records from ancient Egypt [Darby et al. 1977], Greece [Athenaeus, 1927-1942], Rome [Apicius, 1958], India [Caraka, 1981], China [Simoons, 1991] and the Medieval era [Arano, 1976]. Today, most human plant food is based on rather limited number of crops, but it is clear that in many parts of the world the use of wild plants is not negligible [Prescott-Allen and Prescott, 1990; Scherrer et al. 2005; Bussmann et al. 2006; Bussman and Sharon, 2006; Kunwar et al. 2006; Cavender, 2006; Pieroni et al. 2007] Many publications have emphasized on the diversity and value of wild edible plants [Maikhuri et.al., 2000; Kala, 2007; Dhyani et al. 2007]. The nutritional value of traditional wild plants is higher than several known common vegetables and fruits [Nordeide et al. 1996; Sundriyal and Sundriyal, 2001; Orech et al. 2007].�
Ghats of Maharashtra covers an area of 52,000 km2 [Natarajan and Paulsen,
2000]. Ahmednagar district is one of the ten district of Western Ghats
region. This district covers an area of 17,035km2 and lies between 73�9' to
75�5' E and 18�2' to 19�9' N. The area under study, hamlets/villages and the
market places of Akole tahasil that run parallel to the western coast, called
Materials and Methods
Description of the Study Area and Survey:
The study area
concentrates in and around the forest areas, different villages and market
places of Akole tahasil located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state,
situated in the Sahydris ranges
Interviews with tribal and village people
The data were collected according to the methodology suggested by Jain (1995). The ethnobotanical data (local name, mode of preparation) were collected through questionnaire, interviews and discussions among the tribal people in their local language. The questionnaire, such as part of the plant used and detailed about mode of preparation and form of usage. Most of the time, the field visits with the tribals are made to observe and collect the edible plant species.Voucher specimen of each edible plants species were collected during the field visits. The collected species were then dried and preserved following the technique [Jain and Rao, 1967]. The specimens were identified using fresh as well as herbarium materials with taxonomic keys in the Floras like Flora of Bombay Presidency [Cook 1901-1908]. Flora of Ahmednagar district [Pradhan and Singh, 1999], Flora of Maharashtra state vol.I [Singh and Karthikeyan 2000], vol. II [Singh et al 2000] and vol. III [Sharma et al 2000], were used to ascertain the nomenclature and deposited at P.G. Department of Botany Sangamner College Sangamner.
Results and Discussion
The present investigation comprises 31 species of plants belonging to 23 families. Out of 23 families 5 families were belongs to monocotyledon and remaining 18 families were dicotyledons. In dicot, the dominant families were Amaranthaceae (4 species), Papilionaceae (3 species), Boraginaceae (2 species), Asclepedaceae (2 species), where as in monocots, Araceae (2 species) and remaining taxa belongs to one member of each families. For each species botanical name, family, local name, parts used and methods of preparation were discussed in detail (Table 1).
������������������������� Table 1. Wild edible plants used by the tribes of akole tahasil.������
The plant parts used were leaves, fruits, tuber, flower and sometime whole plants for food supplements. Herbs make up the highest preparation of the edible species followed by tree, shrub and climber in descending order. The time and frequency of harvesting various from plant to plant depending upon the availability of edible plant or part which in turn vary from place to place. The edible plant species consumed in many ways, some of them need only washing of the parts or no washing. The parts used were fruits, leaves, flower, tubers and sometimes whole plant. Method of preparation and uses falls into categories like boiled, baking and as raw.
During the survey, it was revealed that the tribals and villagers of Akole� have much faith in using the wild plants as a food. The indigenous people of study area are dependent on forests food for their daily live hood. They frequently visit forests to collect their necessary food supplements and other materials. Thus, those people have described the wild food plant based on usage into two classes- vegetables and raw food. The vegetable plant materials are used for cocking, and the raw food is directly eaten after washing.
The leaves of Amaranthus biltum, Amaranthus spinosus, Argyreia nervosa, Bauhinia racemosa, Celotia argentea, Chlorophytum tuberosum, Colocasia esculenta, Digera muricata and Launaea procumbens are mostly used as vegetables for cooking. Moreover species like Arisaema murrayi, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, Chlorophytum tuberosum and Dioscorea bulbifera bears a tuber which provides hefty minerals and also most of them having medicinal importance. The fruits of Cajanus lineatus, Casine glauca, Capparies zeylanica, Cordia dichotoma, Cordia gharaf, Diospyros melanoxylon, Elaeagnus conferata, Grevia villosa, Flacourtia latitolia,and Uraria picta are generally eaten as raw and sometimes salads and prickles are prepared from them.
Among discussions with tribals and villagers, wild food plants are used as common household food and make a substantial contribution to food security of the tribals and villagers in the study area. Therefore, steps are needed to undertake extensive education about their importance as a nutritional balanced food as a direct and indirect source of income particularly for the resources poor family. These may bring to light one or other new food plants from wild resources for increased population of our country.
In the present investigation an attempt has been made to catalogue the local knowledge of wild plants used by tribal and villagers of Akole. Also this study contributes to the database of traditional indigenous knowledge of plants of the country, which have been not been documented earlier. The findings suggest further investigation into nutritional profits, processing methods, cultivation techniques, conservational studies and pharmacological properties of the reported plant species. Many of the wild food may not be freely available in future due to overexploitation, habitat destruction, regular forests fires and invasion of alien exotic species. So efforts must be taken to conserve wild food plants and also the traditional knowledge for a sustainable management of biodiversity.
The authors are grateful to Dr. K. K. Deshmukh, Principal Sangamner College, Sangamner. Thanks are also due to the informants of tribal people of Akole tahasil for their help and co-operation during the entire study and field work.
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