Diversity of use and local knowledge of wild and cultivated plants in the Eastern Cape province, South AfricaMaroyi A
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2017 Aug 8;13(1):43
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5549312
Alfred Maroyi of the Medicinal Plants and Economic Development Research Center, University of Fort Hare, conducted a study in six villages in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa, to assess useful plant species diversity, plant use categories, and local knowledge of both wild and cultivated useful species in the region.
Writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, Professor Maroyi notes that the majority of the inhabitants in the study sites are traditional isiXhosa speaking people who are highly dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. Working with 138 local informants, Maroyi documented 125 useful plant species, more than a third of them exotic and the remainder native. Approximately 75 percent were collected from the wild, 21 percent cultivated, and 5 percent “spontaneous” (growing without the assistance of humans).
Most of the identified species (62 percent) were used as ethnoveterinary and human medicines. Documented species considered to have potential in the development of new medicinal products with commercial value include Acacia karroo, Alepidea amatymbica, Aloe arborescens (Aloe candelabro), Aloe ferox, Aloe marlothii, Artemisia afra, Bulbine frutescens, Carpobrotus edulis, Elephantorrhiza elephantina, Gunnera perpensa, Helichrysum nudifolium, Helichrysum odoratissimum, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, Leonotis leonurus, Lippia javanica, Mentha longifolia, Pittosporum viridiflorum, Prunus africana, Tulbaghia alliacea, Tulbaghia violacea, Typha capensis, Withania somnifera, Xysmalobium undulatum, and Ziziphus mucronata.
Of these, A. amatymbica, G. perpensa, H. hemerocallidea, and P. africana are threatened with extinction mainly because of over-exploitation for the traditional medicine trade.
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