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Article

On the Trail of an Ancient Middle Eastern Ethnobotany: Traditional Wild Food Plants Gathered by Ormuri Speakers in Kaniguram, NW Pakistan

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University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II 9, 12042 Pollenzo, Bra, Italy
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Center for Plant Sciences and Biodiversity, University of Swat, Kanju 19201, Pakistan
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Faculty of Pharmacy, Aden University, P.O. Box 5411 (Maalla), Aden 00967-2, Yemen
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INALCO (National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations), 2 Rue de Lille, 75007 Paris, France
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Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Via Torino 155, 30172 Venezia, Italy
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Department of Medical Analysis, Tishk International University, Erbil 4401, Kurdistan, Iraq
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Panayiotis Dimitrakopoulos
Biology 2021, 10(4), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040302
Received: 3 March 2021 / Revised: 29 March 2021 / Accepted: 30 March 2021 / Published: 6 April 2021
Wild food plants (WFPs) have played an important role in the human diet throughout history. The current study reports WFP uses among two linguistic groups, i.e., the Ormur people and Pashtuns, living in the Valley of Kaniguram, South Waziristan, Pakistan. A total of fifty-two plants were reported among the two researched groups and these plants were mostly consumed as raw snacks and vegetables. Remarkable homogeneity was observed for WFP uses among the two groups. Being an ancient diaspora, the Ormur people have retained rich traditional knowledge of WFPs and reported some important plant uses that are believed to have arrived from the near West, most likely the Middle East. The current study is an important effort to preserve the biocultural gastronomic heritage of the Ormur people that speak the moribund language; hence, it is strongly recommended that policy makers pay attention to the cultural and traditional gastronomic heritage of the community.
An ethnobotanical field study focusing on traditional wild food botanical taxa was carried out in Kaniguram, South Waziristan, Pakistan, among Ormur (or Burki or Baraki) peoples, which represent a diasporic minority group, as well as among the surrounding Pashtuns. Through sixty semi-structured interviews, fifty-two wild food plants (taxa) were recorded, and they were primarily used raw as snacks and cooked as vegetables. Comparative analysis found a remarkable overlap of the quoted plant uses between the two studied groups, which may reflect complex socio-cultural adaptations Ormur speakers faced. Ormur people retain a rich knowledge of anthropogenic weeds and the phytonyms reveal important commonalities with Persian and Kurdish phytonyms, which may indicate their possible horticultural-driven human ecological origin from the Middle East. Some novel or rare food uses of Cirsiumarvense, Nannorrhops ritchiana, Periploca aphylla, Perovskia atriplicifolia, Viscum album,Oxalis corniculata and Withania coagulans were documented. Since the Ormuri language represents a moribund language, still spoken by only a few thousand speakers in NW Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is recommended that the traditional bio-cultural and gastronomical heritage of this minority group be appropriately protected and bolstered in future rural development programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: ethnobotany; wild food plants; Pashtuns; Ormur people; Burki people ethnobotany; wild food plants; Pashtuns; Ormur people; Burki people
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MDPI and ACS Style

Aziz, M.A.; Ullah, Z.; Al-Fatimi, M.; De Chiara, M.; Sõukand, R.; Pieroni, A. On the Trail of an Ancient Middle Eastern Ethnobotany: Traditional Wild Food Plants Gathered by Ormuri Speakers in Kaniguram, NW Pakistan. Biology 2021, 10, 302. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040302

AMA Style

Aziz MA, Ullah Z, Al-Fatimi M, De Chiara M, Sõukand R, Pieroni A. On the Trail of an Ancient Middle Eastern Ethnobotany: Traditional Wild Food Plants Gathered by Ormuri Speakers in Kaniguram, NW Pakistan. Biology. 2021; 10(4):302. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040302

Chicago/Turabian Style

Aziz, Muhammad A., Zahid Ullah, Mohamed Al-Fatimi, Matteo De Chiara, Renata Sõukand, and Andrea Pieroni. 2021. "On the Trail of an Ancient Middle Eastern Ethnobotany: Traditional Wild Food Plants Gathered by Ormuri Speakers in Kaniguram, NW Pakistan" Biology 10, no. 4: 302. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10040302

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