Wild vegetables are known to make important contributions to food baskets and livelihoods in the smallholder and subsistence farming communities of Sub-Saharan Africa. Protecting and promoting the sustainable use of these vegetables in concert with more mainstream agricultural innovation efforts has the potential to build household resilience to food insecurity. They are considered to be rich in micronutrients and can therefore be used to overcome inadequate nutrition. However, research on micronutrients in wild vegetables remains limited and sporadic. The Lebialem highlands which forms part of the forest agroecological zone of Cameroon is a rich source of a wide variety of wild plants, most of which have hardly been studied from the view point of its uses, proximate composition and nutritional profile. In this context, the present study was aimed at documenting the wild edible vegetables in the study area, as well as their traditional uses as there is dramatic loss of traditional knowledge regarding wild edible plants. Informed consent semi-structured interviews from 300 respondents of 15 communities were conducted to collect data. A total of 26 wild vegetables belonging to 18 families and 24 genera were documented. The Asteraceae was recorded as the most prominent, followed by Brassicaceae, Gnetaceae, Fabaceae and Piperaceae. These five families contributed about 50% of the wild vegetables in the area. Five dominant vegetables were recorded to be mostly consumed viz; Vernonia amygdalina, Gnetum spp., Lomariopsis guineensis, Pennisetum purpureum and Amaranthus dubius. Lomariopsis guineensis and Pennisetum purpureum are illustrated for the first time as wild vegetables in Cameroon. The tradition of using wild palatable plants is still alive in the rural populations though it is declining due to the introduction of exotic species. Consequently, the recording, preserving, and infusing of this traditional knowledge to upcoming generations is vital.
Ngone Abwe Mercy,
Ndam Lawrence Monah,
Mih Afui Mathias,
Survey of Wild Vegetables in the Lebialem Highlands of South Western Cameroon, Journal of Plant Sciences.
Vol. 4, No. 6,
2016, pp. 172-184.
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