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Article

Overcoming Tribal Boundaries: The Biocultural Heritage of Foraging and Cooking Wild Vegetables among Four Pathan Groups in the Gadoon Valley, NW Pakistan

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Department of Botany, University of Peshawar, Peshawar 25120, KP, Pakistan
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Department of Botany, Government Post Graduate College, Parachinar 26000, KP, Pakistan
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Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, 6108 Halle, Germany
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Department of Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmacy, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80260, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
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Pharmacy Program, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Batterjee Medical College, P.O. Box 6231, Jeddah 21442, Saudi Arabia
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Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University, Cairo 11566, Egypt
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University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II 9, 12042 Pollenzo, Italy
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Department of Medical Analysis, Tiskh International University, Erbil 44001, Iraq
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Panayiotis Dimitrakopoulos
Biology 2021, 10(6), 537; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060537
Received: 11 May 2021 / Revised: 31 May 2021 / Accepted: 9 June 2021 / Published: 15 June 2021
To understand how traditional/folk biological knowledge changes across territories, cultures/languages, religions, and generations is crucial if we want to generate robust tools for preserving it. In this study we assessed the effect on foraging (gathering wild vegetables) of the affiliation to four different tribes within the same culture/language/religion in NW Pakistan. Through more than 100 interviews with local peoples conducted over a span of two years information about local wild vegetable names, growth habit, used plant parts, food/cooking details, medicinal perceptions, availability season, and market prices was collected. The survey recorded 51 non-cultivated vegetables while the dominant botanical families were Asteraceae and Fabaceae. Seven species were found to be sold at local and regional markets. Cross-cultural analysis among the wild plants foraged by the four considered tribes showed that the largest number of species was reported by members of the Hadarzai and Umarzai tribes, although most of the quoted wild vegetables were homogeneously gathered among all considered communities, with some more idiosyncratic plant uses among the Umarzai group, who have likely been less affected by the erosion of traditional knowledge or possibly have had less access to traded cultivated vegetables. This shows that food ethnobotanical knowledge exchanges overcome families and tribal boundaries, possibly through continuous social exchanges. The recorded food heritage will be essential for future projects aimed at fostering bio conservation, environmental sustainability, and food security.
The foraging and consumption of wild food plants is a long-standing tradition in many parts of the world and their importance in promoting food security has become more widely debated in recent years. The current study aimed to document, analyze, and interpret the traditional knowledge of non-cultivated vegetables among four Pathan tribes (Alisher Khel, Hadarzai, Haji Khel, and Umarzai) living in the Gadoon Valley, Swabi District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, NW Pakistan, and to evaluate how these practices vary among the considered tribal communities. A total of 104 informants were interviewed via a semi-structured, open-ended questionnaire and group discussions. The field survey was conducted from October 2018 to November 2020. Information about local names, growth habit, used plant parts, food/cooking details, medicinal perceptions, availability season, and market prices were collected. The field survey recorded 51 non-cultivated vegetables belonging to 24 botanical families, for which the frequently used plant parts included young leaves, stems, and flowers. The greatest number of use reports was recorded for Colocasia and the highest cultural index value was recorded for Rumex dentatus; the dominant botanical families were Asteraceae and Fabaceae (six species each). Seven species were found to be sold at local and regional markets. Cross-cultural analysis among the four considered tribes showed that the largest number of species was reported by members of the Hadarzai and Umarzai tribes, although most of the quoted wild vegetables were homogenously gathered among all considered communities, with some more idiosyncratic plant uses among the Umarzai group, who have likely been less affected by the erosion of traditional knowledge or possibly have had less access to traded cultivated vegetables. The novelty of the data was assessed by comparing it with the previously published wild food ethnobotanical literature of Pakistan, which showed fifteen new wild vegetables not yet reported in the NW of the country. The recorded food biocultural heritage should be seriously considered in future local development projects aimed at fostering environmental sustainability and food security. View Full-Text
Keywords: ethnobotany; wild vegetables; Pathans; Gadoon Valley; Pakistan ethnobotany; wild vegetables; Pathans; Gadoon Valley; Pakistan
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MDPI and ACS Style

Khan, S.; Hussain, W.; Sulaiman; Shah, S.; Hussain, H.; Altyar, A.E.; Ashour, M.L.; Pieroni, A. Overcoming Tribal Boundaries: The Biocultural Heritage of Foraging and Cooking Wild Vegetables among Four Pathan Groups in the Gadoon Valley, NW Pakistan. Biology 2021, 10, 537. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060537

AMA Style

Khan S, Hussain W, Sulaiman, Shah S, Hussain H, Altyar AE, Ashour ML, Pieroni A. Overcoming Tribal Boundaries: The Biocultural Heritage of Foraging and Cooking Wild Vegetables among Four Pathan Groups in the Gadoon Valley, NW Pakistan. Biology. 2021; 10(6):537. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060537

Chicago/Turabian Style

Khan, Sheharyar, Wahid Hussain, Sulaiman, Sikandar Shah, Hidayat Hussain, Ahmed E. Altyar, Mohamed L. Ashour, and Andrea Pieroni. 2021. "Overcoming Tribal Boundaries: The Biocultural Heritage of Foraging and Cooking Wild Vegetables among Four Pathan Groups in the Gadoon Valley, NW Pakistan" Biology 10, no. 6: 537. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060537

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