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Wild edible plants collected by Hani from terraced rice paddy agroecosystem in Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan, China

  • Binsheng Luo
  • Bo Liu
  • Hongzhen Zhang
  • Hongkang Zhang
  • Xuan Li
  • Lijuan Ma
  • Yizhou Wang
  • Yujia Bai
  • Xinbo Zhang
  • Jianqin Li
  • Jun Yang
  • Chunlin LongEmail author
Open Access
Research
  • 179 Downloads

Abstract

Background

The Hani people in the Honghe Prefecture of Southeastern Yunnan, China, have practiced terraced rice paddy farming for more than 1300 years. These rice fields, combined with the surrounding forests and water systems, form a special agroecosystem that has attracted both tourists and scientists. For centuries, the local people have traditionally collected wild edible plants (WEP) from the agroecosystem, but this unique traditional practice in this area has never been reported.

Methods

Ethnobotanical fieldwork was conducted in four counties (Yuanyang, Honghe, Jinping, and Lüchun) between 2014 and 2019. Local self-identified Hani people (186) were interviewed, and information concerning local WEP species was obtained, documented, and analyzed. Plant samples and voucher specimens were collected for taxonomic identification.

Results

A total of 224 WEP species, belonging to 90 families and 170 genera, were recorded as used by the Hani people in Honghe. The most common WEP parts used include fruits, stems, and leaves, and the most common preparation methods include eating as a potherb (wild vegetable) and eating fresh. Some WEPs, like Phyllanthus emblica and Dioscorea subcalva, have unique preparation methods. The use-value (UV) and frequency of utilization index (FUI) of WEP species were analyzed. The 20 WEP species with the highest UV were noted as particularly important to the Hani people’s daily life in Honghe.

Conclusion

A large majority of these WEP species possess tremendous economic potential for future development. However, the diversity of WEP species, the associated traditional knowledge, and the broader agroecosystem are facing challenges such as biodiversity loss and pollution from chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This study may help local people to recognize the value of local WEP species and associated traditional knowledge, as well as provide ethnobotanical information for the future development of this tourism region.

Keywords

Hani terraced rice paddy fields Wild edible plants Ethnobotany Hani ethnic group 

Background

The terraced rice paddy fields of the Hani people of Southeastern Yunnan, China, represent a unique agroecosystem with significant economic, ecological, and esthetic values [1]. Due to the dramatic altitudinal range in this area (144–2939 m) [2], there is a significant diversity of climatic zones and associated micro-climates [3]. These climatic zones, in order from low to high altitude, are southern subtropical, middle subtropical, northern subtropical, warm temperate, temperate, and cold temperate climates [3]. This complex topography and diversity of climates significantly contribute to the richness of local biodiversity [4].

Since the 1960s, the Hani terraced rice paddy fields have attracted scientific interest, and they have even been elected into the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (2010) and the UNESCO World Heritage List (2013) [5]. For example, Zhu et al. [6] carried out a series of experiments in the terraced rice paddy fields in Honghe Hani and found that crop heterogeneity could solve the vulnerability of monoculture crops to disease; Li et al. [7] studied the agricultural soils by molecular methods and revealed the dynamics of organic matter in Yuanyang Terrace. However, there have been no studies on the wild edible plants (WEP species) collected and consumed by the Hani people in Honghe Hani terraced rice paddy system. In addition to scientific interest, the Honghe rice terraces have attracted more than 20 million tourists since 2014 [8]. Due to their interests in local foods, tourists have driven a demand for WEP species on the menus of local restaurants.

The Hani people speak their own language, which does not have a traditional writing system. After 1957, a set of writing characters of the Hani language based on Latin was invented with the help of the Chinese government and linguists [8].

About 1300 years ago [9], the Hani people migrated to Southeast Yunnan and began the cultivation of rice paddies in terraced hillside fields, forming a sustainable agroecosystem consisting of four major components: forests, villages, terraced rice paddies, and river systems (Fig. 1) [10, 11]. The evergreen forests control the water in the soil, acting like a natural reservoir to maintain the water year long, and also provide water for the villages and terraced rice paddies in lowlands through water channels built by Hani people [10]. Also, the hot and humid valley climate frequently generates a thick fog that helps to maintain moist air throughout the year. This unique four element–based Hani agroecosystem ensures a stable water supply. Consequently, the Hani terraced rice paddy fields did not suffer any significant damage from the historic 2009–2010 drought in China [2, 12].
Fig. 1

The construction of the Hani terraced rice paddy field agroecosystem

Due to this unique and complex agroecosystem, together with its rich biodiversity, much traditional ethnobotanical knowledge has been developed and accumulated by the local people, especially knowledge about WEP species. Since WEP species have not been domesticated and grown on a large scale, they must be obtained from the natural environment in order to be used as food [13, 14].

In some parts of Yunnan, there has been a rapid replacement of complex agroecosystems by intensive monocultures of commercial crops, such as bananas, which is often accompanied by the use of inorganic herbicides and pesticides [15]. Rising awareness and concern about the possible health effects of pesticides and herbicides on human health has dramatically increased demand for organic foods in China [15]. This interest extends to WEP species as they are wild harvested. For example, many WEP species have made their way into ethnic minority recipes found on high-end restaurant menus. Consequently, some WEP species have tremendous market potential and are particularly popular in tourist areas because of their perceived advantages of being pesticide-free, naturally grown, high in nutrients, and fresh in taste [13, 16]. According to a Web of Science search of bibliometric and mapping knowledge domains, WEP species have always been an essential hotspot in ethnobotanical research [17]. WEP species in the Hani terraced rice paddy agroecosystem are often used to supplement daily food resources or to help to overcome seasonal food shortages [18]. Additionally, some WEP species possess medicinal properties that may help protect indigenous people against diseases [18, 19].

Although the Hani people have lived in the Honghe Hani terraced rice paddy system for centuries, their traditional knowledge and associated biodiversity are rapidly being lost due to socio-economic changes and access to modern technologies [4, 11]. Consequently, decreasing traditional knowledge will likely lead to a decrease in biodiversity, especially the diversity of WEP species [20]. Therefore, saving local traditional knowledge and protecting biodiversity are urgent [21]. To our knowledge, no previous studies have documented the WEP species in Hani terraced rice paddy agroecosystems. Thus, this investigation on the WEP species in Hani was conducted. This study recorded traditional knowledge of WEP species, which may protect it from disappearing in a rapid-developing era. The related research results may also provide scientific guidance for WEP species consumption, information of economic benefit to local communities for future sustainable development, and application of WEP species.

Methods

Study area

Before the field survey, a literature review was conducted to obtain information about the region of Hani terraced rice paddy fields, including climates, topography, vegetation types, and culture [22]. During 2014–2019, ethnobotanical studies were carried out in four counties (Yuanyang, Lüchun, Honghe, and Jinping), which cover more than 47,000 ha, including most of the area containing Hani terraced rice paddy fields (Fig. 2) [23]. All study sites and their visit times are recorded in detail in Table 1. In consideration of local landscape diversity, this investigation was conducted in almost every landscape of this agroecosystem, including farming areas, forests, villages, home gardens, and water source areas [23]. Additionally, local markets in different villages and counties were surveyed repeatedly, as the markets often reflect the wide variety of local knowledge in daily life [24].
Fig. 2

Location and terrain of the study area

Table 1

Study sites in Honghe Hani terraced rice paddy system

County name

Village and township

Times visited

Honghe County

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

2

Honghe County

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

1

Honghe County

Baohua Township

2

Jinping County

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

2

Jinping County

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

2

Lüchun County

Lüchun County

2

Lüchun County

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

1

Yuanyang County

Xiaoxinjie Township

1

Yuanyang County

Niujiaozhai Township

1

Yuanyang County

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

1

The junction of Lüchun County and Yuanyang County

1

Data collection, voucher specimen collection, and data analysis

A variety of different ethnobotanical and social science methods were used to collect data about the WEP 7species in this region. These methods included participatory rural appraisal (PRA), direct observation, semi-structured interviews, key informant interviews, and focal group discussions (Fig. 3) [4, 25, 26]. In total, 186 native Hani people, including 160 people older than 50 years of age, were interviewed. Seventy of them were male, and 116 were female. They were mostly local farmers, and many of them collected WEPs to sell in local markets. The primary content of the interview consisted of “5 W + H” questions (i.e., questions concerning what, when, where, who/whom, why, and how the subjects utilize WEP) [24, 26, 27]. With the assistance of Hani local experts, voucher specimens were gathered from different habitats around the study sites. Plant species were identified by Dr. Chunlin Long, Dr. Bo Liu, and Ms. Jun Yang. The voucher specimens were deposited at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Minzu University of China in Beijing.
Fig. 3

Focal group discussion (a) and Hani women in a local market (b)

The data collected in the Honghe area was collated into an inventory containing all the WEP species and related information. The use-value (UV) of each WEP was calculated to evaluate the relative importance of each plant based on the number of times cited and the number of informants [28, 29]. The formula for UV is
$$ \mathrm{UV}\kern0.33em =\kern0.33em \left(\sum {U}_i\right)\kern0.33em /\kern0.33em N $$
Ui is the times cited by each informant for a certain WEP, while N is the total number of informants [29]. The frequency of utilization index (FUI) of WEP species was graded according to the frequency of consumption by local people. FUI can also reflect the degree of closeness between WEP species and the local community [29]. The FUI scores range from 0 to 5 and varied by the consumption frequency (Table 2) [29].
Table 2

The FUI value and corresponding category

Consumption frequency

FUI

More than once a week

5

Once a week

4

Once a month

3

More than once a year, less than once a month

2

Once a year

1

No consumption in last 30 years

0.5

Results and discussion

Diversity of WEP species in Honghe terraced rice paddy fields

Based on our investigations, 224 WEP species belonging to 170 genera and 90 families, along with related information such as scientific names, family names, life forms, vernacular names, edible parts, and processing methods, were documented (Table 3). According to the recorded WEP species, more than half of the species are woody plants (50.9%), including trees (30.4%) and shrubs (20.5%). There were 80 species of herbaceous plants (35.3%), 21 species of lianas (9.4%), and 10 species of bamboos (4.5%) (Table 4).
Table 3

Inventory of WEP species in Honghe terraced rice paddy system

Scientific name

Vernacular Name

Life form

Family name

Parts used

Preparation and uses

Study sites

Voucher number

FUI

UV

Gymnospermae

Gnetum montanum Markgr.

Wo ni ai xi

Liana

Gnetaceae

Seed

Cooked thoroughly and eaten (kernel)

Lüchun County

201,606–19

0.6

0.21

Gnetum pendulum C.Y.Cheng

Mang dao

Liana

Gnetaceae

Seed

Cooked thoroughly and eaten (kernel)

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-31

0.5

0.16

Angiospermae

Kadsura coccinea (Lem.) A.C.Sm.

Hei lao hu

Liana

Schisandraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–04

2.4

0.44

Houttuynia cordata Thunb.

Pa huo

Herb

Saururaceae

Rhizome

Potherb or flavoring agent

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-54

4.5

0.89

Piper betle L.

Fa qie wei niu

Liana

Piperaceae

Leaf

Flavoring agent

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–39

2.7

0.55

Michelia hedyosperma Y.W.Law

Ma la

Tree

Magnoliaceae

Seed

Flavoring agent

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-39

2.8

0.44

Alphonsea mollis Dunn

 

Tree

Annonaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–35

2.0

0.57

Litsea akoensis var. sasakii (Kamik.) J.C. Liao

 

Tree

Lauraceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Lüchun County

201,606–26

2.4

0.54

Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers.

Mo ye la pi

Shrub

Lauraceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–12

2.0

0.54

Litsea pungens Hemsl.

Si bi a si

Tree

Lauraceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Baohua Township

201,511–43

4.9

0.92

Acorus gramineus Aiton

Ji xiang

Herb

Acoraceae

Leaf, rhizome

Flavoring agent

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–13

2.8

0.46

Amorphophallus konjac K.Koch

Jia mo

Herb

Araceae

Tender leaf, tuber

Making “tofu”

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–09

2.9

0.43

Colocasia gigantea (Blume) Hook. f.

Bo ju

Herb

Araceae

Petiole

Potherb (cooked thoroughly)

Xiaoxinjie Township

201,506–06

4.0

0.80

Sagittaria trifolia L.

Wo qi

Herb

Alismataceae

Tender leaf, rhizome

Potherb (stewed or stir-fried)

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–24

2.4

0.46

Dioscorea cirrhosa Lour.

Ai la ma a si

Liana

Dioscoreaceae

Tuber

Cereal substitute in famine time

Xiaoxinjie Township

201,506–05

2.4

0.43

Dioscorea subcalva Prain et Burkill

Mo mo mang

Liana

Dioscoreaceae

Tuber

Making “tofu” (similar to konjac tofu)

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-45

2.6

0.46

Heterosmilax yunnanensis Gagnep.

Guo ge niao, a guo guo ne

Shrub

Smilacaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb (blanched in boiled water, then soaked in cold water for days. Usually stir-fried or made into soup)

The junction of Lüchun County and Yuanyang County

201,506–08

2.7

0.47

Caryota urens L.

Ha da a bo

Tree

Arecaceae

Flower

Snack (inflorescence sap is sweet)

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–13

0.9

0.20

Commelina benghalensis Forssk.

A wei ya mo

Herb

Commelinaceae

Tender Leaf, tender stem

Potherb (boiled for 5–10 min, then soaked in water to debitterize)

Lüchun County

LB-27

2.0

0.49

Commelina diffusa Burm.f.

Nuo niu pao

Herb

Commelinaceae

Whole plant

Potherb (usually stewed with pork)

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–15

2.9

0.42

Streptolirion volubile Edgew.

Mo dui dui han

Herb

Commelinaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb (made into soup)

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-16

2.2

0.56

Monochoria vaginalis (Burm.f.) C.Presl

Mi zuo wa, a bei bei za, e za, e bi ra

Herb

Pontederiaceae

Stem and leaf

Potherb

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-48

2.0

0.47

Musa acuminata Colla

Ruo a pao ruo a wo

Herb

Musaceae

Fruit, flower, pith part

Fruit: eaten fresh; flower and pith part: cooked as potherb

Baohua Township

201,511–44

3.8

0.70

Musa itinerans Cheesman

 

Herb

Musaceae

Flower, young bract

Potherb

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-14

2.6

0.41

Amomum maximum Roxb.

Sa jia hong bi

Herb

Zingiberaceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–12

2.7

0.52

Hedychium coronarium J.Koenig

A ci a ye

Herb

Zingiberaceae

Flower, shoot

Potherb (usually stewed or stir fried)

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–53

2.3

0.45

Zingiber striolatum Diels

 

Herb

Zingiberaceae

Flower

Potherb

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–22

3.0

0.73

Acidosasa hirtiflora Z.P.Wang and G.H.Ye

 

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–20

0.1

0.12

Chimonobambusa yunnanensis Hsueh et W.P. Zhang

 

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–22

1.0

0.18

Chimonocalamus longiligulatus Hsueh and T.P.Yi

Ha bo

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-07

0.5

0.18

Dendrocalamus membranaceus Munro

A ha a bi

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

HHD-015

0.6

0.17

Dendrocalamus peculiaris Hsueh and D.Z.Li

 

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–23

0.8

0.25

Indosasa singulispicula T.H.Wen

 

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–43

0.1

0.15

Indosasa sinica C.D.Chu and C.S.Chao

A xiu a bo

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–17

0.6

0.06

Melocalamus arrectus T.P.Yi

A ha a bo

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–18

0.6

0.09

Phyllostachys nigra var. henonis (Mitford) Rendle

A mao a bo

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–21

0.9

0.04

Schizostachyum funghomii McClure

A che

Bamboo

Poaceae

Shoot

Bamboo shoots

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–19

0.5

0.25

Akebia trifoliata (Thunb.) Koidz.

 

Liana

Lardizabalaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–05

1.9

0.54

Parabaena sagittata Miers

Hua na wei niu

Liana

Menispermaceae

Leaf

Potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–28

2.5

0.55

Mahonia bealei (Fortune) Pynaert

Shi shi, sou shou

Shrub

Berberidaceae

Fruit, stem

Stem: liquor brewing; fruit: eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–45

2.6

0.52

Helicia nilagirica Bedd.

Kong bai a bo

Tree

Proteaceae

Seed

Cooked seeds are used as grain substitute

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–01

2.7

0.58

Dillenia indica L.

Xi shi a di

Tree

Dilleniaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–13

2.8

0.41

Acacia pennata (L.) Willd.

Tuo bo ji niu

Liana

Fabaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Baohua Township

HHD-25

3.4

0.65

Bauhinia acuminata L. var. candida (Roxb.) Voigt

Du bie a lo

Shrub

Fabaceae

Flower, young pod, seed, tender leaf

Potherb, seeds: cooked throughly and eaten (kernel)

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-17

2.9

0.40

Chamaecrista mimosoides (L.) Greene

 

Herb

Fabaceae

Tender leaf

Tea substitute

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–19

0.5

0.14

Chamaecrista nictitans (L.) Moench subsp. patellaris (DC. ex Collad.) H. S. Irwin et Barneby var. glabrata (Vogel) H. S. Irwin et Barneby

 

Herb

Fabaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Tea substitute

Lüchun County

LB-18

1.2

0.30

Gleditsia sinensis Lam.

A si ni ma a hong

Tree

Fabaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–20

2.7

0.48

Parochetus communis D.Don

A wo la qian

Herb

Fabaceae

Flower

Potherb (stir-fried)

Lüchun County

201,606–31

2.5

0.57

Senna tora (L.) Roxb.

 

Herb

Fabaceae

Flower, leaf, young fruit, seed

Potherb, seed: substitute of coffee

Lüchun County

LB-28

2.6

0.48

Tadehagi triquetrum (L.) H.Ohashi

Qian ka a bo

Shrub

Fabaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Tea substitute

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-43

0.7

0.23

Tamarindus indica L.

Bi qian a si

Tree

Fabaceae

Fruit, tender leaf

Fruit: eaten fresh or made into compote; tender leaf: potherb (blanched before cooking)

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–08

2.5

0.56

Fagopyrum dibotrys (D.Don) H.Hara

A za ca sa

Herb

Polygonaceae

Root

Potherb (usually made into soup)

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

201,506–04

2.2

0.57

Polygala fallax Hemsl.

Ha pa ha ma

Shrub

Polygalaceae

Flower, tender leaf

Potherb (usually made into soup)

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–52

2.3

0.47

Polygonum cupitatum Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don

A za za ni

Herb

Polygonaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb (usually made into soup)

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

201,506–03

2.0

0.46

Polygonum hydropiper L.

An ji ba qian

Herb

Polygonaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–24

2.8

0.54

Polygonum molle D. Don

Qian ge a si

Shrub

Polygonaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Baohua Township

201,511–33

2.2

0.50

Polygonum perfoliatum L.

A qian la qian a pa

Herb

Polygonaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-03

2.1

0.58

Reynoutria japonica Houtt.

Suan gan tong

Herb

Polygonaceae

Tender stem

Potherb

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–37

2.0

0.58

Xanthophyllum yunnanense C.Y. Wu

 

Tree

Polygalaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–07

2.7

0.42

Crataegus pinnatifida Bunge

Si pu a si

Tree

Rosaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Baohua Township

201,511–37

1.8

0.38

Fragaria vesca L.

O luo jia ba a si

Herb

Rosaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–08

2.1

0.44

Pyrus calleryana Decne.

Si peng a si

Tree

Rosaceae

Flower, fruit

Fruit: eaten fresh; flower: potherb (soaked in water to dibitterize, then stir-fried, made into soup or salad)

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–41

2.0

0.54

Pyrus xerophila T.T.Yu

A pei pei zi zuo

Tree

Rosaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüchun County

201,606–22

2.7

0.49

Rubus ellipticus var. obcordatus (Franch.) Focke

Huo wo

Shrub

Rosaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüchun County

201,606–21

2.7

0.38

Rubus multibracteatus H. Lév. and Vaniot

 

Shrub

Rosaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-33

1.9

0.58

Rubus parvifolius L.

A guo luo a bei

Shrub

Rosaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–15

2.5

0.56

Elaeagnus conferta Roxb.

Ba pen luo niu

Shrub

Elaeagnaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–30

2.5

0.41

Artocarpus lacucha Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

A niao niao bei

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–09

2.9

0.57

Artocarpus tonkinensis A.Chev. ex Gagnep.

Ci gan gan nü

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–29

2.3

0.47

Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) L’Her.ex Vent.

Ma san

Tree

Moraceae

Flower, tender leaf

Potherb

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–16

2.0

0.44

Ficus auriculata Lour.

Mu gua cai

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüchun County

201,606–23

3.4

0.68

Ficus hederacea Roxb.

Jia ni ni bai

Shrub

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are mixed with salt and eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–16

1.9

0.55

Ficus henryi Warb. ex Diels

A niao niao xiu

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit

Fruits eaten fresh or liquor brewing

Baohua Township

201,511–40

1.7

0.41

Ficus hirta Vahl

Ji zi o si

Shrub

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-34

2.0

0.38

Ficus irisana Elmer

Qi pu

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

HHD-012

1.8

0.39

Ficus oligodon Miq.

Xi bo ai xi

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–02

2.1

0.46

Ficus pandurata Hance

 

Shrub

Moraceae

Fruit, seed

Fruit: eaten fresh; seed: roasted and eaten (kernel)

Lüchun County

201,606–28

2.1

0.48

Ficus racemosa L.

A niao niao na

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit, seed

Fruit: eaten fresh; seed: roasted and eaten (kernel)

Lüchun County

201,606–27

2.1

0.51

Ficus semicordata Buch.-Ham. Ex Sm.

Hu gan da pa

Tree

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-35

2.4

0.44

Ficus tikoua Bureau

Wei chao lao e

Liana

Moraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-01

2.0

0.48

Debregeasia longifolia (Burm.f.) Wedd.

Mao ma qiang ga

Shrub

Urticaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–31

2.1

0.51

Debregeasia orientalis C. J. Chen

O ce bu

Shrub

Urticaceae

Fruit, leaf, tender stem

Leaf and stem: potherb; fruit: eaten fresh

Baohua Township

HHD-19

2.5

0.55

Elatostema involucratum Franch. and Sav.

Luo bu. a bo

Herb

Urticaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–13

1.9

0.40

Gonostegia hirta (Blume ex Hassk.) Miq.

Pa qian a bo

Herb

Urticaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb

Lüchun County

LB-22

2.1

0.54

Lecanthus peduncularis (Wall. ex Royle) Wedd.

A che pa nv

Herb

Urticaceae

Whole plant

Potherb (usually made into soup)

Baohua Township

HHD-30

2.2

0.48

Castanopsis calathiformis (Skan) Rehder and E.H.Wilson

A ba a bo

Tree

Fagaceae

Seed

Roasted and eaten (kernel)

Baohua Township

HHD-20

0.8

0.18

Castanopsis carlesii var. spinulosa W.C.Cheng and C.S.Chao

Che qian a bo

Tree

Fagaceae

Seed

Roasted and eaten (kernel)

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–10

0.5

0.17

Castanopsis indica (Roxb. ex Lindl.) A.DC.

Che si a bo

Tree

Fagaceae

Seed

Roasted and eaten (kernel)

Lüchun County

LB-21

0.8

0.05

Castanopsis mekongensis A.Camus

 

Tree

Fagaceae

Seed

Roasted and eaten (kernel)

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–24

0.7

0.20

Lithocarpus megalophyllus Rehder and E.H.Wilson

A biu a bo

Tree

Fagaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Baohua Township

201,511–34

2.8

0.46

Myricae esculenta Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

 

Tree

Myricaceae

Fruit

Fruits eaten fresh or liquor brewing

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–06

2.0

0.41

Gynostemma pubescens (Gagnep.) C.Y.Wu

Ka kui zha ha

Herb

Cucurbitaceae

Leaf, tender stem

Tea substitute

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–44

0.2

0.18

Hemsleya macrosperma C.Y.Wu

A za ku xi

Herb

Cucurbitaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

201,506–02

2.5

0.40

Hodgsonia macrocarpa (Blume) Cogn.

Zha qi gu lu

Liana

Cucurbitaceae

Seed

Eaten directly, or used for pressing oil

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–02

1.9

0.48

Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng.

Bei ba na

Liana

Cucurbitaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–30

2.9

0.44

Salacia sessiliflora Hand.-Mazz.

A ka la ma a bo

Shrub

Celastraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüchun County

201,606–25

2.6

0.41

Oxalis corniculata L.

Suan ji cao

Herb

Oxalidaceae

Stem, leaf

Potherb: blanched in boiled water, then soaked in cold water for 2 h

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–01

2.3

0.47

Elaeocarpus decipiens F.B.Forbes and Hemsl.

Na ci ci ha

Tree

Elaeocarpaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–08

1.9

0.58

Garcinia cowa Roxb. ex Choisy

Huang xin shu

Tree

Clusiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Baohua Township

201,511–35

2.0

0.47

Garcinia multiflora Champ. ex Benth.

Qiu guo a si

Tree

Clusiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–02

2.4

0.42

Garcinia xanthochymus Hook.f. ex T.Anderson

A bu. bu. qie

Tree

Clusiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–04

2.1

0.52

Cratoxylum cochinchinense (Lour.) Blume

Jiu ge ge qia

Tree

Hypericaceae

Tender leaf, young fruit

Tender leaves: tea substitute; young fruit: flavoring agent

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–11

2.2

0.49

Cratoxylum formosum subsp. pruniflorum (Kurz) Gogelein

A on a bo

Tree

Hypericaceae

Tender leaf

Tea substitute

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-44

0.9

0.25

Curculigo capitulata (Lour.) Kuntze

Ma ni zu se

Herb

Hypoxidaceae

Fruit, tender leaf, tender stem

Fruit: eaten fresh; leaves and stem: potherb

Baohua Township

HHD-18

2.0

0.56

Curculigo sinensis S. C. Chen

Mei la pa jia

Herb

Hypoxidaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Baohua Township

201,511–36

1.9

0.56

Passiflora wilsonii Hemsl.

Ba ze

Liana

Passifloraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–04

2.5

0.51

Flacourtia ramontchi L’Hér.

A zi long jie a bo

Shrub

Salicaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh, or made into jam, or preserved

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–10

2.4

0.58

Baccaurea ramiflora Lour.

Si suo a si

Tree

Phyllanthaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–34

4.2

0.89

Phyllanthus emblica L.

Bo can xi ka, xi qia ha

Tree

Phyllanthaceae

Bark, fruit

Fruit: eaten fresh; bark: scraching off the inside tender bark to make dishes

Lüchun County

201,606–29

4.9

0.90

Rotala indica (Willd.) Koehne

En ni a bo

Herb

Lythraceae

Tender shoot

Potherb

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–16

2.2

0.42

Rotala rotundifolia (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb.) Koehne

 

Herb

Lythraceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Baohua Township

HHD-27

2.1

0.52

Cleistocalyx operculatus (Roxb.) Merr. and L.M.Perry

 

Tree

Myrtaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–27

1.6

0.56

Decaspermum parviflorum (Lam.) A.J.Scott

A gong gong ni a bo

Tree

Myrtaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–28

2.4

0.38

Syzygium fluviatile (Hemsl.) Merr. and L.M.Perry

Me ran me xiu na ci a bo

Shrub

Myrtaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

The junction of Lüchun County and Yuanyang County

201,506–09

1.6

0.49

Syzygium yunnanense Merr. and L.M.Perry

O ho

Tree

Myrtaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüchun County

201,606–24

2.8

0.45

Medinilla radiciflora C.Y.Wu ex C.Chen

 

Shrub

Melastomataceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–03

2.4

0.39

Medinilla septentrionalis (W.W. Sm.) H.L. Li

Qian ben er a si

Shrub

Melastomataceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–05

2.8

0.48

Melastoma affine D. Don

Bei bai

Shrub

Melastomataceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-04

2.2

0.46

Melastoma normale D. Don.

Yang er ba cui

Shrub

Melastomataceae

Fruit, leaf

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüchun County

201,606–20

2.6

0.47

Osbeckia opipara C.Y. Wu et C. Chen

Bi ji

Shrub

Melastomataceae

Root, stem

Potherb (usually stewed with meat)

The junction of Lüchun County and Yuanyang County

201,506–11

2.2

0.57

Canarium album (Lour.) DC.

Bei le a si

Tree

Burseraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh, or preserved

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–10

2.3

0.40

Canarium pimela K.D.Koenig

Si mo a si

Tree

Burseraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh, or preserved

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–07

2.4

0.44

Canarium strictum Roxb.

A bo ma dai

Tree

Burseraceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh, or preserved

Baohua Township

201,511–42

2.5

0.46

Choerospondias axillaris (Roxb.) B. L. Burtt and A. W. Hill

Gei ha a bo

Tree

Anacardiaceae

Fruit

Fruits eaten fresh or liquor brewing

Baohua Township

201,511–41

2.2

0.55

Dracontomelon duperreanum Pierre

A zi ren a

Tree

Anacardiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh, or preserved

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-37

2.3

0.49

Mangifera sylvatica Roxb.

 

Tree

Anacardiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–14

2.0

0.40

Rhus chinensis Mill.

Ha da da xiu

Tree

Anacardiaceae

Fruit

Preserved fruit

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–42

2.8

0.53

Arytera littoralis Blume

Ta mo si song

Tree

Sapindaceae

Shoot

Potherb

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–48

2.6

0.52

Acronychia pedunculata (L.) Miq.

 

Tree

Rutaceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–11

2.3

0.43

Tetradium austrosinense (Hand.-Mazz.) Hartley

 

Tree

Rutaceae

Fruit

Fruits are edible and used for pressing oil

Xiaoxinjie Township

201,506–07

1.6

0.47

Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim.

A zao

Tree

Rutaceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

HHD-013

2.4

0.48

Zanthoxylum scandens Blume

 

Shrub

Rutaceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–38

2.3

0.43

Zanthoxylum simulans Hance

 

Shrub

Rutaceae

Fruit

Flavoring agent

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-38

2.3

0.44

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle

Qi la wu ha

Tree

Simaroubaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–50

1.8

0.41

Bombax ceiba L.

 

Tree

Malvaceae

Flower

Potherb

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-49

2.2

0.42

Microcos nervosa (Lour.) S.Y.Hu

 

Tree

Malvaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Baohua Township

201,511–38

2.3

0.45

Sterculia brevissima H.H.Hsue

Sa qiu huo bi

Shrub

Malvaceae

Seed

Roasted and eaten (kernel)

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

HHD-017

0.1

0.21

Sterculia lanceolata Cav.

Sa qiu huo bi

Tree

Malvaceae

Seed

Roasted and eaten (kernel)

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

HHD-016

0.1

0.16

Sterculia pexa Pierre

Ni hei gei zi a bo

Tree

Malvaceae

Seed

Stir-fried

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-41

2.5

0.56

Capparis masaikai H. Lév.

 

Liana

Capparaceae

Seed

Natural sweetener

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–20

0.8

0.2

Crateva unilocularis Buch.-Ham.

Man nei luo ba

Tree

Capparaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Made into pickles (preserved)

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–14

3.9

0.75

Stixis suaveolens (Roxb.) Pierre

 

Liana

Capparaceae

Fruit, tender leaf

Fruit: eaten fresh; tender leaves: tea substitute

Lüchun County

201,606–30

2.2

0.42

Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.

A zu o qi

Herb

Brassicaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb

Lü shuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–19

2.7

0.45

Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino

 

Herb

Brassicaceae

Tender stem and leaves

Potherb or tea substitute

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–46

2.0

0.49

Nasturtium officinale R.Br.

Xi yang cai

Herb

Brassicaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-10

3.4

0.66

Rorippa islandica (Oeder) Borbás

 

Herb

Brassicaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb (boiled for 5–10 min, then soaked in water to remove pungent taste)

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-53

2.4

0.50

Erythropalum scandens Blume

Ha jia ha na bei ying

Liana

Olacaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-15

2.1

0.52

Korthalsella japonica (Thunb.) Engl.

De la

Shrub

Santalaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–33

1.7

0.39

Pyrularia edulis (Wall.) A. DC.

A ke ke ran a si

Tree

Santalaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are stewed or stir-fried

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–12

2.3

0.50

Myosoton aquaticum (L.) Moench

Qian chu a ma

Herb

Caryophyllaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-11

2.2

0.46

Amaranthus spinosus L.

Wo zu wo niu

Herb

Amaranthaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–21

2.5

0.53

Amaranthus lividus L.

 

Herb

Amaranthaceae

Leaf, stem

Potherb

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-52

2.2

0.47

Amaranthus viridis L.

La huo pa ni

Herb

Amaranthaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–23

3.6

0.61

Chenopodium album L.

Ge xia wo niu

Herb

Amaranthaceae

Shoot

Potherb

Baohua Township

HHD-28

2.3

0.49

Phytolacca acinosa Roxb

Kan bo

Herb

Phytolaccaceae

Leaf

Potherb

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–22

2.3

0.44

Portulaca oleracea L.

Yi ca mo ni

Herb

Portulacaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-51

1.8

0.52

Dendrobenthamia hongkongensis (Hemsl.) Hutch.

 

Tree

Cornaceae

Fruit

Fruits eaten fresh or liquor brewing

Baohua Township

201,511–39

1.9

0.56

Dendrobenthamia melanotricha (Pojark.) W.P.Fang

 

Tree

Cornaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–06

2.5

0.47

Nyssa javanica (Blume) Wangerin

 

Tree

Cornaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–07

2.3

0.44

Swida macrophylla (Wall.) Soják

 

Tree

Cornaceae

Fruit

Used for pressing oil

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-06

2.0

0.51

Pouteria grandifolia (Wall.) Baehni

 

Tree

Sapotaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-02

1.9

0.52

Diospyros lotus L. var. mollissima C.Y. Wu

 

Tree

Ebenaceae

Fruit

Fruits eaten fresh, making liquor or vinegar

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–36

2.4

0.58

Embelia ribes Burm.f.

 

Shrub

Primulaceae

Fruit, shoot

Fruit: eaten fresh; shoot: potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–14

2.3

0.42

Embelia subcoriacea (C. B. Clarke) Mez

 

Shrub

Primulaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–03

2.1

0.42

Maesa montana A. DC.

Ke tu a bo

Shrub

Primulaceae

Leaf

Tea substitute

Lüchun County

LB-20

0.2

0.39

Maesa parvifolia A. DC.

 

Shrub

Primulaceae

Leaf

Tea substitute

Lüchun County

LB-19

1.4

0.37

Camellia pitardii Coh.-St.

 

Shrub

Theaceae

Petal

Potherb

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–21

2.7

0.40

Actinidia kolomikta (Rupr. and Maxim.) Maxim.

A zi ku nu

Shrub

Actinidiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–32

2.5

0.54

Saurauia napaulensis DC.

 

Tree

Actinidiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Baohua Township

201,511–32

2.7

0.58

Saurauia napaulensis DC. var. montana C. F. Liang and Y. S. Wang

 

Tree

Actinidiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–01

2.8

0.39

Saurauia tristyla var. hekouensis C. F. Liang and Y. S. Wang

A nuo xi

Tree

Actinidiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-05

2.7

0.42

Gaultheria leucocarpa Bl. var. crenulata (Kurz) T.Z.Hsu

Xie

Shrub

Ericaceae

Leaf

Potherb (made into soup)

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-09

2.1

0.48

Gaultheria longibracteolata R.C.Fang

Ye lan mei

Shrub

Ericaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–09

1.9

0.45

Vaccinium bracteatum Thunb.

Ha na

Shrub

Ericaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

The junction of Lüchun County and Yuanyang County

201,506–10

2.5

0.55

Pittosporopsis kerrii Craib

Ha piao mei che

Shrub

Icacinaceae

Fruit, seed

Fruit: eaten fresh; seed: roasted and eaten (kernel)

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-40

2.3

0.55

Canthium horridum Blume

Ha da da nue

Shrub

Rubiaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–05

2.4

0.51

Hedyotis tenelliflora Blume

Gu suo na ci

Herb

Rubiaceae

Whole plant

Potherb (made into soup)

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-42

2.0

0.55

Amalocalyx yunnanensis Tsiang

 

Liana

Apocynaceae

Fruit

Young fruit slices are eaten fresh with the source made by pepper and salt

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-32

2.0

 

Dregea volubilis (L.f.) Benth. ex Hook.f.

Ku cai

Liana

Apocynaceae

Flower, tender leaf

Potherb

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-12

3.0

0.72

Melodinus henryi Craib

Ke se pa ha

Liana

Apocynaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–06

2.6

0.45

Lithospermum erythrorhizon Siebold and Zucc.

 

Herb

Boraginaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb

Baohua Township

HHD-26

2.0

0.50

Lycium yunnanense Kuang and A.M.Lu

 

Shrub

Solanaceae

tender stem

Potherb

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–47

2.0

0.46

Solanum nigrum L.

Wo lun

Herb

Solanaceae

Tender leaf, fruit

Fruit: eaten fresh; tender leaf: potherb

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

HHD-014

2.3

0.42

Solanum torvum Sw.

Si ma ma ha

Shrub

Solanaceae

Root

Potherb (usually stewed)

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

HHD-018

2.9

0.46

Ligustrum sinense Lour.

Ci kong ba deng a bo

Tree

Oleaceae

Fruit

Liquor brewing

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-46

0.6

0.05

Rhynchotechum obovatum (Griff.) B.L. Burtt

 

Shrub

Gesneriaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–03

1.7

0.39

Plantago asiatica L.

Ka pae ca

Herb

Plantaginaceae

Whole plant

Potherb

Xiongjia Village, Adebo Township

201,506–01

2.3

0.51

Plantago asiatica L. subsp. erosa (Wall.) Z. Y. Li

Ka pae ca

Herb

Plantaginaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb (usually stewed or made into soup)

Baohua Township

HHD-22

2.8

0.53

Plantago depressa Willd.

Ha pa yu cai

Herb

Plantaginaceae

Whole plant

Potherb (soaked in water and sir-fried)

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-08

2.3

0.55

Mayodendron igneum (Kurz) Kurz

A ci ma ha nen

Tree

Bignoniaceae

Flower

Potherb

Lüchun County

LB-23

2.8

0.43

Clinopodium chinense (Benth.) Kuntze

Zhaun zhuan cai

Herb

Lamiaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-50

2.4

0.44

Mentha canadensis L.

Wo zhi zhi ma

Herb

Lamiaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Flavoring agent

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–11

4.6

0.75

Rabdosia coetsoides C.Y.Wu

Nu ha ma

Herb

Lamiaceae

Whole plant

Tea substitute or cooked with meat (Potherb)

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–15

0.7

0.23

Helwingia japonica (Thunb.) F.Dietr.

Huo tie tie du

Shrub

Helwingiaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb (blanched in hot water, then soaked in cold water before cooking)

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–18

1.9

0.53

Campanumoea javanica Blume

A mi nan guo

Liana

Campanulaceae

Fruit

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-36

1.6

0.56

Lobelia angulata G.Forst.

 

Herb

Campanulaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–31

1.8

0.42

Adenocaulon himalaicum Edgew.

Bu lü wu hu

Herb

Asteraceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–15

1.8

0.45

Bidens pilosa L.

Hei ni zuo ge mo

Herb

Asteraceae

Tender leaf

Potherb (stewed until it is tender)

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–26

2.0

0.53

Cirsium japonicum (Thunb.) Fisch. ex DC.

Che pei a gong

Herb

Asteraceae

Root

Stewed with pork for nourishing

Baohua Township

HHD-21

2.9

0.43

Crassocephalum crepidioides (Benth.) S. Moore

O mi o sa

Herb

Asteraceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Baohua Township

HHD-29

3.9

0.76

Eclipta prostrata (L.) L.

A ji mei, a ge wo chi

Herb

Asteraceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–25

2.2

0.49

Gnaphalium affine D. Don

A mi sha chu

Herb

Asteraceae

Leaf, stem

Potherb

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–23

2.1

0.42

Ixeris polycephala Cass.

 

Herb

Asteraceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb (blanched before eating and making salad)

Lüchun County

LB-26

3.9

0.75

Lactuca serriola L.

 

Herb

Asteraceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Xiaoxinjie Township

LB-13

2.8

0.52

Lagedium sibiricum (L.) Soják

E si lao gong zi

Herb

Asteraceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–29

2.8

0.54

Laggera pterodonta (DC.) Sch.Bip. ex Oliv.

Wo sa la ma

Herb

Asteraceae

Whole plant

Potherb (blanched in hot water, then soaked in cold water before cooking)

Lüchun County

LB-25

2.9

0.51

Viburnum dilatatum Thunb.

Pu tong a bo

Shrub

Adoxaceae

Fruit

Fruits eaten fresh or liquor brewing

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–16

2.7

0.51

Dipsacus asperoides C.Y.Cheng and T.M.Ai

Pao tou cao

Herb

Caprifoliaceae

Tender leaf, root

Potherb (Usually stewed with pork or made into soup)

Baohua Township

HHD-23

2.7

0.51

Valeriana jatamansi Jones

Ye zuo zuo pu

Herb

Caprifoliaceae

Flower, root

Flower: eaten fresh (Potherb); root: stewed for nourishing

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–40

1.7

0.51

Acanthopanax trifoliatus (L.) Voss

Jiu duo

Shrub

Araliaceae

Tender stem

Potherb

Lüchun County

LB-24

2.5

0.50

Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. et Maxim.) Maxim.

 

Shrub

Araliaceae

Tender stem, leaf

Potherb

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–18

2.3

0.42

Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.

Ban chao wo ba

Herb

Apiaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–27

3.0

0.58

Eryngium foetidum L.

Ga la ya so

Herb

Apiaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Flavoring agent or stir-fried (potherb)

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–18

1.9

0.52

Ligusticum chuanxiong S.H.Qiu, Y.Q.Zeng, K.Y.Pan, Y.C.Tang, and J.M.Xu

Tong e jian sa

Herb

Apiaceae

Tender leaf

Flavoring agent or stir-fried (potherb)

Qingkou Village, Xinjie Township

201,506–17

2.6

0.53

Oenanthe javanica (Blume) DC.

Zha suo

Herb

Apiaceae

Tender leaf, tender stem

Potherb

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–14

4.3

0.82

Sanicula astrantiifolia H. Wolff ex Kretschmer

Xiao hei yao

Herb

Apiaceae

Whole plant

Potherb (usually sir-fried)

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–54

2.9

0.48

Pteridophyta

Lygodium digitatum C. Presl

Ha da da xiu

Liana

Lygodiaceae

Tender stem

Potherb

Lüshuge Village, Jiayin Township

201,610–17

2.5

0.54

Pteridium aquilinum var. latiusculum (Desv.) Underw. ex A. Heller

Ye qie

Herb

Dennstaedtiaceae

Shoot

Potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–26

2.7

0.45

Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn.

Da lie

Herb

Pteridiaceae

Shoot

Potherb

Niujiaozhai Township

201,606–17

2.6

0.47

Callipteris esculenta (Retz.) J. Sm. ex T. Moore and Houlston

 

Herb

Athyriaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Lagu Village, Sanmeng Township

HHD-47

2.5

0.56

Callipteris esculenta var. pubescens (Link) Ching

 

Herb

Athyriaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Baohua Township

HHD-24

1.8

0.56

Gymnocarpium remotepinnatum (Hayata) Ching

Ha

Herb

Athyriaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

The junction of Lüchun County and Yuanyang County

201,506–12

2.1

0.58

Parathelypteris glanduligera (Kunze) Ching

Ha da

Herb

Thelypteridaceae

Shoot

Potherb

Lonajia Village, Jiayin Township

201,506–49

2.7

0.56

Marsilea quadrifolia L.

He dou a ya mo

Herb

Marsileaceae

Tender leaf

Potherb

Shuiyan Village, Ma’andi Township

201,511–25

3.3

0.59

The order of plant species in this table is followed by the APG IV system, gymnosperms classification system (1978), and Qinrenchang fern plant classification system (1978)

Table 4

Life forms of WEP species in Honghe terraced rice paddy system

Life form

Records

Percentage

Herbs

79

35.3%

Trees

68

30.4%

Shrubs

46

20.5%

Lianas

21

9.4%

Bamboo

10

4.5%

All WEP species were also classified by their edible parts (Table 5). The recorded edible parts of WEP species included the whole plant, root, stem and leaf, flower, fruit, seed and shoot, and other parts like bark and tuber. For several WEP species, like Bauhinia acuminata var. candida and Senna tora, multiple parts can be consumed. These results embody the diversity of edible parts of WEP species in Honghe terraced rice paddy fields and indicate that local people have become well adapted to the local environment for centuries. The various uses and preparation methods are recorded in Table 6.
Table 5

Edible parts of WEP species in Honghe terraced rice paddy system

Part used

Records

Percentage

Fruit

98

43.8%

Stem and leaf

83

37.1%

Shoot

18

8.0%

Seed

18

8.0%

Flower (petal, bract)

16

7.1%

Whole plant

8

3.6%

Root

6

2.7%

Rhizome

3

1.3%

Tuber

3

1.3%

Bark

1

0.4%

Table 6

Preparation and uses of WEP species in Honghe terraced rice paddy system

Preparation and uses

Records

Percentage

Potherb

95

42.4%

Eaten fresh

84

37.5%

Flavoring agent

16

7.1%

Nuts

12

5.4%

Tea substitute

11

4.9%

Bamboo shoots

10

4.5%

Liquor brewing

8

3.6%

Grain substitute

2

Special tofu

2

Sweetener

1

The plant stems and leaves are also collected widely (Table 6), and these are mostly consumed as a potherb, which is generally referred to as “wild vegetables” locally. The Hani people usually consume potherbs by stir-frying or by boiling them in a soup. The blended vegetables in soups are usually mixed with natural spices before eating. There are 16 species with edible flowers (Table 5), including Musa itinerans (bracts only). These edible flowers could be an essential source of nutrition for local people. It has been previously reported that edible flowers are rich in nutrients and micronutrients and that some of their extracts are useful as medicines [30, 31, 32]. Potherb is the most consumed group (Table 6) of WEP species in Honghe with 75 species (33.5%). In China today, wild vegetables, or “ye cai,” have become popular food products that are increasingly being served in restaurants due to their flavor and a widespread perception of their superior nutritional values [33]. In the Honghe area, wild vegetables also play a vital role in local livelihood as food and dietary supplements. These wild vegetables are mainly collected in the mountains above the rice paddy fields and forest lands, and the collection time lasts from January to October but mainly occurs in the spring. Some plants, like Houttuynia cordata and Oenanthe javanica, can be collected throughout the year.

According to Table 5, edible fruit is the most popular group (98 species, 43.8%). These are usually consumed freshly without processing, which is the second most common food preparation method for the Hani WEP species (Table 6). Also, fruits can be consumed in several different ways. For example, Amomum maximum fruits are used locally as a natural spice that can help infirm people regain their appetite; the fruits of Ligustrum sinense are used by the local Hani people to brew a unique alcoholic drink, and Canarium album’s fruits can be preserved into pickles.

Ten species of bamboo shoots can be made into different dishes that are high in nutritious fibers. Some WEP species in the Honghe region can also be used as natural flavoring agents (16 species), nuts (12), tea substitutes (11), liquor-brewing ingredients (8), grain substitutes (2), and special tofu (2). Exceptionally, there is only one species, Capparis masaikaii, that is used as a natural sweetener by local communities. The locals usually remove the seed coat and chew the kernel directly. C. masaikaii contains high levels of mabinlin, a sweet protein with 400 times the sweetness of sucrose but with meager calories, and consequently, this plant has a high potential for future application in the food industry [34].

Two special cases of WEP species

During our investigation, some unique cases of utilizing and processing WEP species were observed. In the Honghe area, Phyllanthus emblica bark is prepared in an unusual way (Fig. 4a). Local Hani people collect the P. emblica from mountainous forests, remove the branches, and peel off the outer layer of bark, grating off the bitter-tasting inner bark by using pottery shards. Traditionally, they adjust the bitter taste by mixing rice porridge paste with the tender inner bark. Then, the grated inner bark is mixed with roasted ribs, sliced pork liver, salt, and spices and eaten as a traditional dish. Besides its culinary use, P. emblica is also used medicinally for its potential anti-microbial, antioxidant and anti-tumor, hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, and antihypertensive properties [35].
Fig. 4

Dish of Phyllanthus emblica (a). Dioscorea subcalva and dish of D. subcalva (b, c)

The traditional preparation of Dioscorea subcalva in cuisine is also distinctive. Local women first peel the thin skin from the D. subcalva tubers (Fig. 4). They then use a special tool to grate the peeled tubers into a container with a hot water-ash solution. When the solution has cooled, all of the grated tubers congeal into a sticky and elastic clump. These clumps can be cut into slices and stir-fried with meat. In another use of D. subcalva, local people scrape off the exudate from its tuber and apply this exudate directly onto wounds for wound healing [36, 37]. The exudate has high polysaccharide content and possesses good antioxidant bioactivity [36, 37].

The UV and FUI value of WEP species in the Honghe area

Quantitative analyses were calculated to determine the local importance of each wild edible species. The use values (UV) and frequency of utilization indices (FUI) of each species were calculated. The 20 WEP species with the highest UV are listed along with their average FUI in Table 7.
Table 7

Top 20 WEP species with highest use value in Honghe terraced rice paddy system

Scientific name

Preparation and uses

FUI

UV

Litsea pungens

Flavoring agent

4.9

0.92

Phyllanthus emblica

Fruit: eaten fresh; bark: special dishes

4.9

0.90

Baccaurea ramiflora

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

4.2

0.89

Houttuynia cordata

Potherb or flavoring agent

4.5

0.89

Oenanthe javanica

Potherb

4.3

0.82

Colocasia gigantea

Potherb (cooked thoroughly)

4.0

0.80

Crassocephalum crepidioides

Potherb

3.9

0.76

Crateva unilocularis

Made into pickles (preserved)

3.9

0.75

Mentha canadensis

Flavoring agent

4.6

0.75

Ixeris polycephala

Potherb

4.0

0.75

Zingiber striolatum

Potherb

3.0

0.73

Dregea volubilis

Potherb

3.0

0.72

Musa acuminata

Fruit: eaten fresh; flower and pith part: potherb

3.8

0.70

Ficus auriculata

Ripe fruits are eaten fresh

3.4

0.68

Nasturtium officinale

Potherb

3.4

0.66

Acacia pennata

Potherb

3.4

0.65

Elatostema involucratum

Potherb

3.3

0.65

Amaranthus viridis

Potherb

3.6

0.61

Marsilea quadrifolia

Potherb

3.3

0.59

Centella asiatica

Potherb

3.0

0.58

Litsea pungens had the highest UV and average FUI (Table 7). Because of its unique flavor and positive effects on human health, it has become the most commonly used edible species as a spice. Some local people even use the oil extracted from this species to repel mosquitos. Based on both local medical theory and scientific research, L. pungens can help to promote appetite and improve digestion [38]. Mentha canadensis is also a popular spice among local people, especially for cooking meat. However, its average FUI value and UV are relatively lower than for L. pungens. The second highest UV belongs to Phyllanthus emblica, while its average FUI value is similar to that of L. pungens. The high UV and average FUI values of P. emblica may be attributed to its juicy and tasty fruits and its special cultural property: its tender bark is consumed in every October Festival and God Walled Festival.

Several other plants were found to be popular as wild vegetables in our study area based on their high UV and average FUI, including the following: Acacia pennata, Ixeris polycephala, Amaranthus viridis, Centella asiatica, Colocasia gigantea, Crassocephalum crepidioides, Dregea volubilis, Elatostema involucratum, Houttuynia cordata, Oenanthe javanica, and Zingiber striolatum. For example, H. cordata is the most common wild vegetable in Southern China. Many modern scientific studies have indicated that this species possesses excellent anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and immuno-enhancement bioactivities [39, 40]. C. gigantea is also a popular food plant, especially in Southwest China, and we found that the stem of C. gigantean contains high levels of nutrients and no heavy metals [41]. In addition, the inflorescence of Musa acuminata and Zingiber striolatum and the fruits of Ficus auriculata, Baccaurea ramiflora, and Musa acuminata are all relatively popular and important in local daily life.

The effect of WEP species on communities’ economic income

Based on our interviews with key informants in local markets, the trading volume of WEP species was on a very small scale (less than 15 yuan each stall), which means selling WEP species could only bring a small income supplement and was usually unstable for local people. Therefore, driven by economic profits, many villagers have switched from growing rice to other economic plants like bananas in Hani terraced rice paddy fields. Many Hani informants reported that planting bananas can bring more income than growing rice. While in the short term, Hani farmers can get a higher income by growing bananas; they have to dry the rice paddy fields before planting bananas, which is against the Hani traditional ideas of sustainability. In doing so, the original construction and wetland habitats, as well as biodiversity, will be destroyed in the long term. Nevertheless, according to our observations, drying rice paddy to plant others was shown in different places in the Honghe region, especially in Jinping County.

The sources of and threats to the diversity of WEP species in the Honghe region

Our investigation revealed the diversity of WEP species in the Honghe area. Several reasons contributing to local biodiversity and WEP diversity have been analyzed (Fig. 5). The varied natural geographic environments and weather conditions are two of the main reasons for the diversity of WEP species. Secondly, the sustainable landscape structure constructed by the locals, including the four critical elements of forests, villages, terraces, and rivers, has a robust regulating ability, particularly for the regulation of essential water resources. Additionally, with the guidance of abundant traditional knowledge concerning reasonable agricultural management, excellent ecological benefits have been made to improve and maintain stability and biodiversity in the whole agroecosystem. Some Hani taboos, village regulations, and non-governmental agreements, as well as local religious beliefs like the worship of the mountain deity and magic woods, have restrained the behaviors of local people and protected the surroundings.
Fig. 5

The relationship between local biodiversity and its effect factors

However, the stability of Hani terraced rice paddy fields, which has been maintained for centuries, is now facing a series of challenges (Fig. 5). In our research area, traditional rice planting methods have been damaged by modernization. Based on our investigation, local young people prefer to work in urban areas to make more money instead of doing farm works in their hometowns. Traditional knowledge related to farmland management is only mastered by the older generation and is fading away rapidly (Table 3), and 18% of recorded species lack local Hani names. One reason for this lack of local names is that the Hani people are traditionally illiterate so that traditional knowledge can only be passed on orally by generations, so this knowledge is vulnerable to loss via acculturation. Although a writing system of the Hani language has been in place since 1957, it has not been widely adopted in the Hani communities. In addition, large-scale growing of hybrid rice requires less use of traditional agricultural methods and instead relies on pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Furthermore, the excessive exploitation of natural resources and the drying and changing of traditional rice terraces fields into economic fields are becoming increasingly frequent in the Honghe area nowadays. These phenomena are leading to a sharp decrease in the diversity of traditional knowledge and local biodiversity, which might damage the agroecosystem in this region [42, 43].

Since 2013, when the Hani agroecosystem was elected into the UNESCO World Heritage List, tourism has increased markedly. In 2015, the tourism industry generated about 191.5 billion yuan and accounted for about 70% of local government revenues (out of 275.6 billion yuan). However, the local villagers have obtained minimal economic benefits from the local tourism industry. The traditional agroecosystem cannot sustain the daily food needs of the local people anymore. The Hani are now turning to the tourism industry, which may help to protect the traditional knowledge and biodiversity in this agroecosystem.

Conclusion

An ethnobotanical study on WEP species from the Hani terraced rice paddy agroecosystems in Southeast Yunnan, China, was conducted. Two hundred and twenty-five species (belonging to 170 genera and 90 families) of wild edible species and the information of their life forms, edible parts, and preparation methods were documented. Based on our analysis, the most widely eaten parts of WEP species are fruits, stem, and leaves. The most common processing methods for WEP species are cooking them as a potherb or eating them fresh. These results are closely related to the local lifestyle and reflect the local biodiversity. The use values (UV) of WEP species were also calculated, and the 20 species with the highest use value were listed. Compared with other WEP species, these 20 species are relatively more important to local daily life, and Litsea pungens, a local common natural spice, is the most popular WEP based on its high UV metric.

The reasons for local biodiversity and the challenges for local agroecosystem have been analyzed. This agroecosystem is facing severe problems concerning natural resource conservation, environmental protection, and the economic development of local communities in this agroecosystem. Prestigious designations like UNESCO World Heritage Site have helped to promote ecotourism, which has begun to improve the livelihood of local people while sustaining the operation of this agroecosystem.

In conclusion, there are abundant plant resources in the Hani terraced rice paddy field system because it is an ancient sustainable agroecosystem. However, in modern times, this region has suffered a series of threats. It is, therefore, critical to develop an effective way to protect it and to ensure its sustainability for its inhabitants.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Prof. Edward Kennelly from the City University of New York and Mr. Eric Miller from the University of California at San Fransisco, who edited the English language. We are very grateful to the local people in Honghe Hani terraced rice paddy agroecosystem, Yunnan Province, who provided valuable information about local wild edible plants.

Authors’ contributions

CLL conceived and designed the study. BSL, CLL, BL, HZZ, HKZ, XL, LJM, YZW, YJB, XBZ, JQL, and JY conducted data collection. CLL, BL, and JY identified wild edible plants. BSL interpreted and analyzed data and wrote the draft manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31761143001 and 31870316), Biodiversity Survey and Assessment Project of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China (2019HJ2096001006), Key Laboratory of Ethnomedicine (Minzu University of China) of Ministry of Education of China (KLEM-ZZ201906 and KLEM-ZZ201806), Minzu University of China (Collaborative Innovation Center for Ethnic Minority Development and yldxxk201819), Ministry of Education of China and State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China (B08044), and Bureau of World Heritage of Honghe Prefecture.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life and Environmental SciencesMinzu University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Ethnomedicine (Minzu University of China)Ministry of EducationBeijingChina
  3. 3.Bureau of Word Heritage of Honghe PrefectureMengziChina
  4. 4.Kunming Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina

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