Vascular Plant Diversity and Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal and Wild Edible Plants in Jibat, Gedo and Chilimo Forests, West Shewa Zone of Oromia Region, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa Universty


This study was undertaken in Jibat, Chelia and Dendi districts, Central Ethiopia, in order to investigate the floristic composition and vascular plant diversity of Jibat, Chilimo and Gedo forests and ethnobotanical knowledge of medicinal and wild edible plants used by the Oromo communities in the area. The resulting data are expected to contribute to the conservation of the fast-eroding plant resources and the preservation of the associated ethnobotanical knowledge of the study area. Vegetation data were collected from a total of 457 relevés sampled preferentially using a square plot of 400 m2 (20 m x 20 m) for woody plants and subplots of 2 m x 2 m at the four corners and the centr e of the large relevé laid to collect the samples of herbaceous species. Woody species with a diameter at breast height (DBH) > 2 cm were counted and cover abundance values estimated. Agglomerative hierarchical classification in R package version R 2.12.5 software, was used to identify plant communities and synoptic values ≥1 for identification of the dominant species for naming plant communities. Shannon-Wiener diversity index was used to assess species richness and evenness. Ethnobotanical data were collected by interviewing 838 informants (512 males and 269 females). Quantitative approaches were used to determine informant consensus factor (ICF) and fidelity level (FL) values. Ethnomedicinal knowledge held by different informant categories was compared using One-way ANOVA and t-tests in SPSS version 20 and MINITAB Release 14.3.0 statistical package. A total of 415 plant species belonging to 312 genera and 104 families were documented from the study area of which 320, 290 and 241 were from Jibat, Gedo and Chilimo forest stands respectively. A total of 18 plant communities were identified from the vegetation survey. Furthermore, 172 ethnomedicinal plant species belonging to 155 genera and 73 families were documented that are used to treat 86 human ailments reported grouped under 13 major disease categories. Similarly, 97 ethnoveterinary plant species categorized under 94 genera and 56 families reported to treat 44 livestock ailments were documented and a total of 71 wild edible plants belonging to 58 genera and 33 families were reported to be gathered and consumed in the study area. Herbs (ca. 232) were the dominant plant growth forms followed by shrubs (ca.94) and trees (ca. 74) among the vascular plants documented from the area. Asteraceae (68 species in 42 genera) and Fabaceae (26 species in 21 genera) were the most taxonomically diverse families followed by Lamiaceae and Poaceae with 19 genera each and 26 species and 24 species respectively in the study area. A total of 43 endemic plants were documented in this study of which one species, Kniphofia hildebrandtii is critically endangered. Leaves (36.6%) followed by roots (19.98%) and seeds (10.34%) were the most consumed ethnomedicinal plant parts in remedy preparation. Most remedies were prepared from fresh plant materials (66.48%), mostly prepared and applied by boiling and drinking the decoction upon cooling (117 citations, 13.88%) followed by drinking the concoction (49 citation, 13.35%). Oral application (220 preparations, 59.94%) was the commonly used route of administration followed by topical or dermal application (95 preparations, 25.88%). Amoebiasis, constipation and diarrhoea were the most commonly reported health problems under the gastrointestinal, pharyngeal and parasitic (GIPP), whereas atopic eczema and dandruff were the most frequently reported under the dermatological and subcutaneous tissues (DST) disease group. The categories with the highest informant consensus factor (ICF) values, GIPP (0.70 for Dendi, 0.67 for Chelia and 0.69 for Jibat districts) followed by respiratory (0.64 for Chelia) and DST (0.64 and 0.63 for Jibat and Dendi respectively.The highest fidelity level (FL) (95%) was recorded for Hagenia abyssinica in Jibat District. Zingiber officinale and Jasminium abyssinicum were reported to have highest FL values in Chelia District (95% each). In Dendi District, Zingiber officinale, Bothriocline schimperi, Zehneria scabra, Clerodendrum myricoides, Ocimum lamiifolium and Acokanthera schimperi with FL values of 95% each, had the highest FL. In the study area, the highest ICF value was recorded for disease categories dermatological and sensorial problems (0.80) followed by septicaemic problems (0.68) and wound, external injury and animal bite (0.66) in the case of ethnoveterinary medicine. The reports indicate a high incidence of these types of diseases in the study area, possibly due to the poor socio-economic and sanitary conditions of the people. Preference ranking indicated that Lactuca inermis, Coffea arabica and Brucea antidysernterica were the most preferred species to treat diarrhea in Jibat District and Dodonaea angustifolia, Justicia schimperiana and Arisaema enneaphyllum were the most preferred species used against atopic eczema in Chelia and Carissa spinarum, Acanthus sennii and Otostegia integrifolia were the most preferred species to treat rheumatism in Dendi. Knowledge associated with use of medicinal plants is generally kept secret and is transferred orally. Age, literacy level, distance from health centre and experience of informants had statistically significant influence on ethnobatanical knowledge of medicinal and wild edible plants (P < 0.05), whereas, marital status and gender did not exert statistically significant difference (P >0.05) regarding their ethnobatanical knowledge. Moraceae and Asteraceae were among the most commonly consumed families with five and four edible taxa respectively. Women and children were the main gatherers of WEPs. The majority of the useful plants were collected from wild source and storage practice was minimal in the study area. The output of the direct matrix ranking revealed that Prunus africana was ranked first (the most threatened) followed by Hagenia abyssinica and Olinia rochetiana which are multipurpose species in Jibat District. Similarly, Prunus africana was ranked first (most threatened) followed by Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata and Podocarpus falcatus in Chelia District; and Juniperus procera was ranked first (the most threatened) followed by Prunus africana and Hagenia abyssinica in Dendi District are reported to be the most threatened multipurpose species. Agricultural expansion, overstocking/ grazing and fuel wood collection were found to be the most threatening factors to plant resources in the study area. The study area is endowed with rich flora in general and medicinal and wild edible plants and associated knowledge in particular, yet under great pressure due to anthropogenic and natural factors. Thus, it is recommended that forestry departments of the federal, regional and local governments take strong and urgent conservation actions and strategies to safeguard these valuable resources before they have gone forever. In this, each level would need to mobilize the local people to be actively involved in sustainable forest resource management. Keywords: Medicinal Plants, Chelia, Dendi, Jibat, Wild edible plants, Informant Consensus, Fidelity Level



Medicinal Plants, Chelia, Dendi, Jibat, Wild edible plants, Informant Consensus, Fidelity Level