Traditional Plant Knowledge in the White Carpathians: Ethnobotany of Wild Food Plants and Crop Wild Relatives in the Czech Republic

This ethnobotanical study documents wild food plant use in the White Carpathians in the Czech Republic, a bio-culturally preserved mountain range adjacent to the border with Slovakia. Sixty informants from 25 villages were interviewed, and 78 species of wild plant from 30 botanical families were recorded. Crop wild relatives were of high cultural importance, demonstrating their unambiguous role in the traditional food system. Based on cross-cultural comparisons, the highest degree of similarity for species, genera, and uses was found with Ukrainians living in Romania. The greatest number of species was collected in anthropogenic environments; however, species with higher cultural importance occur in forests and meadows. The consumption of Impatiens parviflora seeds, Sambucus nigra green flower buds, and the sucking of Ajuga reptans nectar are novel findings for European ethnobotany. The results reinforce the idea that operating through social memory biocultural refugia safeguard important reservoirs of traditional ecological knowledge.
Category: General
Authors: Pawera, L., et al.
Journal/Series: Human Ecology
Publication Year: 2017

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