Study of Useful Plants in and Around GATE UDUMA (Traditional Gedeo Homegardens) in Kochere Wereda of Gedeo Zone, SNNPR, Ethiopia: an Ethnobotanical Approach

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Addis Ababa Universty


This ethnobotanical study was conducted on useful plants in and around GATE UDUMA (traditional Gedeo homegardens) at Kochere Wereda of Gedeo Zone in South Ethiopia. It was aimed at documenting traditional ethnobotanical knowledge on use and management of plants in the culture of Gedeo people of the area. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, free listing methods, guided garden tours, group discussions, preference rankings, paired comparisons and ranking using index of cultural significance (ICS). Totally, 165 plant species in 135 genera and 65 families were collected and identified as useful plants to the people of the Wereda from homegardens and the immediate surroundings. Useful plants recorded from homegardens were 45% herbaceous, 31% trees, 18% shrubs and 6% climbers. Fabaceae was the most represented family on use with 16 (9.6%) species, followed by Poaceae 11 (6.6%), Asteraceae 10 (6.0%), Lamiaceae 9 (5.4%) and Solanaceae 8 (4.8%) species. Cultivated plants make 92 species (56%) of which 54 (33% of the total) are edibles. The rest 73 species (44%) of the total are wild or semi-wild useful plants managed in and around homegardens that are tolerated, encouraged or deliberately planted. Among the total, 68 species (41%) were grouped as edibles, while 32 (19%) were medicinal plants. In addition, 34 (21%) species were ornamental and 40 (24%) species were used in the material culture of the Gedeo people. Moreover, there were 29 species (18%) in the forage plant category, 26 (16%) in live fences; 19 (12%) used as fire wood and 37 (22%) are miscellaneously used species. Multipurpose species encountered were added to 43 that are 26% of the total. Woody species were found the integral components of Gedeo homegardens and 81 species (49%) of the total were found trees and shrubs managed in and around homegardens for various purposes. Community matrix ranking and analysis of index of cultural significance showed that Syzygium guineense, Cordia africana and Albizia gummifera as the most culturally important plants in the category of multipurpose species. These results indicate that they are more vulnerable to exhaustion and hence they are at the highest rank of conservation priority. Similarly, Ensete ventricosum, Zea mays and Brassica carinata were found important food crops while Coffea arabica followed by Catha edulis were important cash crops of the Wereda. Considering threats to useful plants, cutting woody species for firewood, for construction and various crop diseases were found as the major threat factors for garden species. Gedeos practice agroforestry development, homegardening or field cropping to conserve and sustainably use agrobiodiversty of the area. Maintaining diverse specie of crops and landraces through selection, spatial and temporal crop arrangements and crop protection practices were found the basic garden management practices. Agroforestry is a traditional management practice of agroecosystems in the area and homegardens were found to be differentiable from these systems in species and use diversities, fertility of soils and closeness to the dwellings. Therefore, such type of complimentary of in-situ and ex-situ conservation and agrobiodiversity management practices should be encouraged and strengthened by all stakeholders concerned. This research work ends in concluding about the important findings and forwarding important recommendations on conservation and sustainable use of homegarden components and ethnobotanical knowledge in the area. Key words: Ethnobotany, GATE UDUMA/Homegarden, Kochere Wereda, Gedeo Zone, Useful plants



Ethnobotany, GATE UDUMA/Homegarden, Kochere Wereda, Gedeo Zone, Useful plants