Consumption of Wild-Growing Vegetables in the Honde Valley, Zimbabwe
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This study evaluates the relevance of wild-growing vegetables in two villages of the Honde Valley, Zimbabwe, by documenting the use, knowledge of, and attitudes toward these plants. Information on plant use was gathered through 20 food diaries, 8 focus group discussions, and semi-structured interviews with 76 individuals (32 male) from the villages. Forty-two ethnospecies of wild vegetables were recorded and 26 identified to species. Wild leafy vegetables were consumed about twice a week by participating families; Cleome gynandra and Bidens pilosa were eaten most frequently. Preferred vegetables were dried and conserved for off-season use. Knowledge of wild food plants was transmitted orally within families, acquired in early childhood, and gradually increased with age. Gender differences were found in the quantity and type of knowledge. According to the villagers, the advantages of wild vegetables were their nutritional and economic value, as well as their accessibility. The perceived drawbacks were mainly related to quality issues, strong tastes, and lack of year-round availability. Despite preference for cultivated alternatives among younger people, there was renewed interest in wild plants due to recent health concerns such as diabetes and HIV.
Key WordsEthnobotanical knowledge nutrition health wild vegetables AIVs
We would like to thank the people of Chipupuri and Maradzika for their participation in the study, as well as Mr. C. Chapano of the National Herbarium of Zimbabwe (SRGH) for his valuable assistance in the identification of plant specimens. The doctoral studies of the first author were supported by the Secretary of the Exterior of Mexico, and the fieldwork in Zimbabwe was financed privately by the two authors.
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