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Boundaries Are Blurred: Wild Food Plant Knowledge Circulation across the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian Borderland

Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Via Torino 155, 30172 Venezia, Italy
Department of History, University of Concepción, Edmundo Larenas 240, Concepción 4030000, Chile
University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II 9, 12042 Pollenzo, Italy
Medical Analysis Department, Tishk International University, 100 Meter Street and Mosul Road, Erbil 44001, Iraq
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biology 2023, 12(4), 571;
Submission received: 13 March 2023 / Revised: 5 April 2023 / Accepted: 7 April 2023 / Published: 9 April 2023
(This article belongs to the Section Conservation Biology and Biodiversity)



Simple Summary

Knowledge of plants and their uses is an essential link between people and the environment. To foster biocultural diversity as a vehicle for mutually beneficial coexistence, we need to understand how plant-related knowledge circulates. Considering the rapid loss of biocultural diversity, especially in peripheral areas, the local dimensions of ecological knowledge circulation merit greater scholarly attention. Exploring the current Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian borderland, we found relatively homogeneous wild food plant knowledge circulated within historically united, yet now separated, local communities of Lithuanians and Poles. However, we call for deeper qualitative analysis in order to detect recent changes in the flow of knowledge.


The circulation of local ecological knowledge (LEK) is a promising avenue of research for wild plant studies. To encourage the acceptance, celebration, and appreciation of biocultural diversity, which is rapidly disappearing nowadays, we need to estimate and assess multifaceted local ecological knowledge. It has direct application for local communities in informing effective policies for improving food security and building community-specific responses to environmental and social transitions. The present study draws on data collected among two ethnic groups—Lithuanians and Poles—via 200 semi-structured in-depth interviews and participant observation conducted in 2018 and 2019 in Podlasie Voivodeship (Poland), the Vilnius Region (Lithuania), and the Hrodna Region (Belarus). We aimed to observe LEK circulation in the border area through cross-ethnic and cross-country comparisons. A total of 2812 detailed use reports of wild plants were recorded. In total, 72 wild plant taxa belonging to 33 plant families were used across the food domain. Our findings show that cross-country differences were minimal, while there was some variation between the ethnic groups selected as case studies. We emphasize the need, in future studies, to combine quantitative research with qualitative approaches in order to more thoroughly identify peculiarities of cross-border circulation as a reservoir for community food resilience and biocultural diversity.

1. Introduction

Biocultural diversity is rapidly disappearing [1,2], especially in peripheral areas [3]. To encourage the acceptance, celebration, and appreciation of biocultural diversity, we need to estimate and assess the importance of the local dimensions of ecological knowledge.
Border regions have been at the center of scientific debate from different perspectives [4,5,6]. Driven by various political, social, and cultural processes, human activities such as border shifts strongly modify natural environments [7] and impact the flow of knowledge. Border areas might represent places to study environmental knowledge as a dynamic process [8]. Local communities constantly reshape their knowledge through interconnections, mutual influences, and non-linear flows of information [9,10,11]. Depending on boundary appearance/disappearance and opening/closure, the border area could be a barrier, filter, or contact zone [12] where knowledge can or cannot circulate.
The mixing of different cultural elements and a dynamically changing environment in border areas foster creating and maintaining multiple communication channels between local communities [13]. At the same time, in borderlands, intensive circulation of knowledge might contribute to the formation of shared uses and unique cultural realities that contradict the image of boundaries as a barrier [14]. The separations created by states provide clues to the development of unofficial social relations and hybrid manifestations, specifically, language confluence [15]. Several studies have highlighted the so-called “border paradox” [16] where national boundaries have determined and facilitated the creation of shared cross-border flows of knowledge. Borders, as the social construction of peripherality [17], might lead to the homogenization of knowledge [18].
Recently, there has been a growing body of research concerned with the importance of borders in LEK transmission [19,20]. Several researchers have noted changes in the use of natural resources [21] (p. 60) and significant divergence in LEK between the divided border communities [22,23], despite many years of living together in the same area and sharing the same religious faith [24], as well as accessing multilingual folk and scientific literature regarding the use of wild plants [25]. In this vein, various ethnobotanical border studies have found that differences within the compared ethnic groups are more pronounced than those with other local communities currently inhabiting the same country [26,27].
Nevertheless, peripheral border areas represent an ideal study site for exploring the phenomenon of LEK circulation in its temporal and spatial dynamics. The present-day Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian triangle has been subjected to a series of border shifts. For centuries, the triangle between Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus has been a multi-linguistic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural area to a certain extent [28,29]. Historical conditions and its geographically peripheral location have made this region a place of cohabitation of various ethnic groups: Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Jews, Russians (predominantly Old-Believers), Tatars, Roma, etc. The studied cultural landscape has become a reservoir, and even a hotspot, of biological and cultural diversity. The selected area and its communities have been investigated from historical [30,31,32,33,34,35] and modern ethnobotanical perspectives [36,37,38,39]. Thus far, however, our understanding of the degree to which border shifts may result in the homogeneity of culturally unique knowledge has been limited.
The aims of the study were to (1) document LEK on wild food plants among Lithuanian and Polish communities in the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian borderland, (2) conduct cross-border and cross-ethnic comparisons in order to understand the dynamics of knowledge circulation within the region, and (3) evaluate the effects of border shifts on LEK circulation within the tri-border area. On the basis of the potential influence of state frontiers, we expect to see, as a general trend, knowledge heterogeneity among the three countries and relative knowledge homogeneity within the cross-border ethnic groups.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Study Site and Data Collection

The data was collected, over six months in 2018 and 2019, via semi-structured interviews and participant observation conducted in 60 rural settlements in the regions of Podlasie Voivodeship (Poland), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Hrodna (Belarus). Most of the territory of the tri-border area is inhabited by people who nowadays self-identify as Polish [40,41,42]. Nevertheless, the selection of villages for fieldwork was also predetermined by the dispersed and compact settlements of Lithuanians in the study area (Figure 1).
The studied tri-border area is located in the East European Platform and is characterized by considerable landform diversity, significant forest cover, and valuable geomorphologic features formed by continental glaciation [43]. The border region contains diverse ecosystems, such as abundant forests, meadows, wetlands, and waterbodies. Small patchwork fields and adjacent areas of arable land planted with various crops are characteristic features of the rural landscape of the study area (Figure 2). The study region’s soil is accorded little agricultural value, which justifies the introduction of afforestation schemes [44]. For the study sample, we mainly selected rural settlements close to forest ecosystems in all three case studies [45].
The local residents are mainly bi- or multilingual [46,47]. Our interviewees predominantly used more than one language/local dialect in communication (primarily Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, and Russian). Elderly interviewees from Belarus and Lithuania often declared that they speak (or their parents spoke) “pa prostu” or “pa tutejšamu” (which means ‘straightforward, easy, unsophisticated speech’, an uncodified vernacular form of Belarusian) [48,49]. Several times, our interviewees showed fluidity in their ethnic identity. For instance, in Lithuania, some people of Polish descent considered themselves both Poles and Lithuanians. In Belarus, older people identified themselves as Poles, while the younger generation declared themselves Belarusians. The strongest identification in all the surveyed groups was among Lithuanians.
The political landscape of the studied area was highly dynamic. Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus shared significant historical events from the 14th century through the middle of the 20th century [50]. Before 1939, all the territory of the study area was incorporated into the Second Polish Republic (with administrative borders between investigated settlements). Then, after Soviet invasion, the study region was divided among the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Polish People’s Republic. Therefore, there was a soft border between Belarus and Lithuania as they were both part of the Soviet Union, but they had a hard border with Poland. After the collapse of the USSR, between 1989 and 1992, Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus all gained independence. Finally, in 2004, Lithuania and Poland became members of the European Union, thus establishing a hard border with Belarus.
This research was carried out within the framework of an ethnobotanical study focusing on border regions of Eastern Europe (ERC Starting Grant no. 714874). In the interest of the umbrella project, our goal was to obtain a sample conforming to specific criteria: individuals approximately 40 years of age or more, representing both men and women, and belonging to ethnic groups (Polish and Lithuanian) living in all three researched countries. We included only local (born in the region and lived there for at least the last 30 years) rural residents. We used a pseudo-random sampling method, complementing it with occasional snowball sampling. To obtain more detailed information, we interviewed people in their homes or/and during walks in the surrounding area, which lasted from 30 min to 3 h, depending on the availability of the individual.
The study sample included a total of 200 people: 156 women and 44 men. We conducted interviews with 95 Lithuanians and 105 Poles, with an average age of 68.54 and 72.07 years, respectively. The discrepancy in gender arose because of the low number of elderly men in the study area. The majority of interviewees in the study sample were retired and had either worked on collective farms (in Belarus and Lithuania) or were small-scale farmers (in Poland). About 25% of the sample represents (former) teachers, librarians, and nurses from all three countries. All interviewees self-identified as Roman Catholic.
To evaluate the wild food plant LEK, the data was grouped by country and ethnic group. In total, we defined 6 case studies for comparison: (1) Lithuanians living in Belarus (BYLT), (2) Poles from Belarus (BYPL), (3) Lithuanians from Lithuania (LTLT), (4) Poles living in Lithuania (LTPL), (5) Lithuanians from Poland (PLLT), and (6) Poles living in Poland (PLPL). Furthermore, in every case study, we collected data on control variables that may affect the distribution of WFP knowledge within an ethnic group living in a specific country. These variables included: gender (0—female, 1—male), education (according to ISCED-11 [51] classification: 0—no schooling; 1—primary education; 2—lower secondary education; 3—upper secondary education; 4—post-secondary non-tertiary; and 5—equivalent tertiary education level), age (in years), and language (according to the number of declared languages spoken by an interviewee: 1–4, among which were Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, and Russian).
Table 1 shows the socio-demographic distribution of the sample selected for analysis. We found no statistically significant association between the interviewees’ ages among the six case studies (p = 0.099). Consequently, our cross-border study sample was relatively homogeneous by age (Figure 3).
The Code of Ethics of the International Society of Ethnobiology [52] was strictly followed. The research protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Written and oral consent were obtained from all participants prior to the interviews. All interview recordings were subsequently transcribed, maintaining the linguistic and metacommunicative nuances for more transparency in and reproducibility of the statistical analysis.
Voucher specimens were collected for the wild taxa, when available, and subsequently deposited at the herbarium of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (UVV): Lithuanian specimens bear accession numbers DZULT01–DZULT136 and DDZULT01–DDZULT42, and Polish specimens bear accession numbers DZUPL001–DZUPL107 and DDZUPL01–DDZUPL39. The total number of specimens collected was 324. Taxonomic identification, botanical nomenclature, and family assignments followed the Flora Europaea [53] and the Plants of the World Online database [54]. Local plant names were transliterated following the rules of the standard Belarusian and Russian languages.

2.2. Data Analysis

The information gathered from the interviewees was entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet in the form of detailed use reports (DUR), where each interviewee mentioned the use of wild species and their preparation [55]. To explore knowledge circulation within the tri-border area, we conducted bivariate and multivariate analyses.
To test the homogeneity of the sample, we calculated cross-country differences based on the number of taxa used by a person and grouped the results by area, gender, age, education, and language spoken. We used Student’s t-test (for two variables) and ANOVA and chi-square test (for three or more variables) to determine whether differences in the number of plants mentioned were statistically significant. The statistical confidence level was set at p ≤ 0.05. We used Pearson’s correlation coefficient to test the relationship between the individual scores for the knowledge domains.
To conduct cross-ethnic and cross-country comparisons, Jaccard similarity indices were calculated following González-Tejero et al. [56]: J I = C A + B C 100 , where A is the number of species/genera in sample A, B is the number of species/genera in sample B, and C is the number of species/genera common to A and B.
To perform the quantitative assessment of the collected data, we used the ethnobotanyR package [57]. Specifically, to evaluate the significance of wild food species for the studied local communities, several quantitative calculations were made. We quantified use reports and number of uses per species [58], fidelity level (FL) of the various uses of species [59], relative frequency of citation index (RFC) [60], cultural importance index (CI) [59], and informant consensus factor (ICF) [61]. The combination of these calculations offered a comprehensive evaluation of the importance of plants for the studied local communities (see Appendix A).
Statistical analysis and graph plotting was performed with Microsoft Excel (Data Analysis) and R-4.2.2 software(R Development Core Team; Venice, Italy) using various CRAN packages [62].

3. Results

We recorded the food uses of 72 wild plant taxa belonging to 33 plant families, the most representative of which were Asteraceae (10 taxa), Rosaceae (8 taxa), Ericaceae (6 taxa), and Lamiaceae (6 taxa) (Table 2). The collected data was divided into 2812 DUR, covering both current and past uses.
The most multifunctional taxa in all three regions (countries) of the studied border area were Rubus idaeus (used in 9 emic categories), used mainly for jam, non-alcoholic drinks, and snacks; Vaccinium oxycoccos (8), used as a seasoning, a snack, and for jam making; Vaccinium vitis-idaea (8), used primarily for jam, as a snack, and for recreational tea; and Vaccinium myrtillus (7), used mainly for jam, as a snack, and for non-alcoholic drinks. The most popular used taxa among all interviewees were Rumex acetosa (280 DUR), followed by Vaccinium myrtillus (268 DUR), Armoracia rusticana (223 DUR), Betula spp. (188 DUR), and Carum carvi (181 DUR).
The most popular food categories included soup made from Rumex acetosa (274 DUR), relish (seasoning) made from Armoracia rusticana (215), sap from Betula spp. (169), seasoning made from Carum carvi (138), and jam made from Vaccinium myrtillus (133). The most diverse emic food categories used within the three regions of the study area were recreational tea (40 plant taxa), snacks (mainly berries) (27), various additives (20), and non-alcoholic drinks (19).
The highest (100.00%) fidelity level in all three countries was found for the use of Achillea millefolium, Artemisia vulgaris, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Equisetum pratense, Helichrysum arenarium, Hypericum spp., Leonurus cardiaca, Matricaria chamomilla, Melissa officinalis, Nepeta cataria, Thymus spp., and Tussilago farfara for recreational tea (Figure 4); Cirsium oleraceum, Heracleum sphondylium, Rumex acetosa, and Urtica urens for soup; Borago officinalis and Symphytum officinale in salad; Campanula sp., Corylus avellana, and Oenothera biennis as a snack; Armoracia rusticana, Origanum vulgare, and Thlaspi arvense as a seasoning; Aesculus hippocastanum and Cichorium intybus as a food substitute; and Alnus spp. for smoking meat.

3.1. Sample Analysis

According to the use of wild plants for food, we detected no significant difference on the country level. However, we found a lower average score for plant species mentioned by Poles (mean 8.79) compared to Lithuanians (mean 10.55) (p = 0.011) and significant differences in wild food plants mentioned when comparing all six case studies among each other (p = 0.007) (Figure 5).
There was a significant difference in the number of plants used by the two genders, in which men reported using fewer plants than women (7.9 and 10.12 on average, respectively) (p = 0.007). We did not find statistically significant evidence of the impact of educational level (p = 0.331), nor the number of languages spoken (p = 0.495), on the number of used plants (Table 3).
We observed that in all our cross-border case studies age did not play a significant role in the distribution of LEK (ANOVA: 1.883, p = 0.099). More than 20 taxonomic species were mentioned mostly by middle-aged adults. Pearson’s correlation coefficient between the age of interviewees and the plant species mentioned was negative (r = −0.076) and reflected a non-significant association (Figure 6).

3.2. Cross-Country and Cross-Ethnic Comparisons

We found a high level of homogeneity (similarity) among the case studies with a core of 21 common taxa. Lithuanians from Lithuania used a greater diversity of taxa (52), whereas Poles from Lithuania (33) used fewer taxa but with greater intensity (based on DUR) (Figure 7).
The least amount of overlap in the gathered data, and thus the lowest Jaccard index (similarity coefficient) value, was between Lithuanians living in Lithuania and Poles (0.4839) and Lithuanians (0.4844) from Poland. A greater level of overlap in the use of wild plant taxa for food, and consequently a higher level of LEK homogenization, was observed between Poles living in Belarus and Lithuanians (0.6200) and Poles (0.6250) from Poland.
Little difference was found between ethnic groups and groups living in the same country. In this respect, the boundaries between ethnic groups are rather blurred, as they share 30 or 31 taxa.
The relative frequency of citation ranged between 0.826 and 0.014 in all three case studies (Table 4). Thus, we did not identify quantitative differences on the taxon level.
Vaccinium myrtillus (1.180) was the most culturally significant plant in all six case studies. It has a CI index value ranging between 1.343 (for Poles from Belarus) and 0.938 (for Lithuanians living in Poland). The next most culturally significant taxon was Rubus idaeus (0.815), with a range between 1.062 (for Lithuanians living in Poland) and 0.594 (for Poles from Poland), followed by Rumex acetosa with a CI index value of 0.795. For this latter taxon, the difference between studied cases was relatively low and ranged between 0.941 for Lithuanians from Belarus and 0.500 for Poles living in Lithuania. Interestingly, Carum carvi has a CI index value of 0.755, with greater cultural importance for Poles (0.938) in all three countries in comparison with Lithuanians (0.806). Urtica dioica is culturally significant in the studied communities and has a CI index value of 0.680, with a range between 1.156 for Lithuanians from Poland and 0.344 for Poles from Poland. Therefore, the results confirmed relative homogeneity among CI values obtained in the different cross-border case studies. The top ten species of wild food plants with the highest CI values were mentioned in every case study (see Appendix B).
The informant consensus factor (ICF) for the whole study border area was very high (0.970) (Table 5). A similar pattern was observed when considering the countries of Belarus (0.935), Lithuania (0.934), and Poland (0.933) separately, and when comparing the two ethnic groups: Lithuanians (0.959) and Poles (0.949).

4. Discussion

Nowadays, the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian borderland represents the result of many layers of past environmental processes and human interventions. We observed that wild food plant knowledge was relatively evenly distributed across the area regardless of the existing state boundaries, as we did not find statistically significant differences between countries. A high ICF value indicates an extraordinary level of agreement among interviewees in the whole studied region on the taxonomic level of wild plants used for food. Previously, a high ICF in the food domain was observed primarily in non-border areas [20,63,64].
Relatively homogeneous knowledge on the use of wild plants for food in the studied region might be explained by the fact that Poles and Lithuanians have resided in the investigated territories for centuries [50]. The flexible qualities of identity and the possession of different languages in the studied region facilitated the cross-border flow of knowledge, not only by creating shared connections between individuals but also by allowing bridge-building among other ethnic groups. Interestingly, no clear national identity as “tutejszy” (“from here”) has been observed for the rural population in this historical region, even in the interwar period [29]. Furthermore, the recorded fluid and floating identity in the border zone facilitated knowledge circulation.
We observed that nowadays the two relatively distinct studied groups still use, in everyday communication, “język tutejszy”/“mowa prosta” (local language) as a lingua franca. This certainly facilitated inter-ethnic communication in the multicultural border region and promoted the more open exchange of information. In certain cases, two local communities used to speak Russian. For a former Soviet territory, it is quite a widespread practice of inter-ethnic communication [65], especially considering that older and middle-aged respondents predominantly studied Russian at school.
Our field results indicated that for all three studied countries, the environment has changed and many plant species have disappeared. For instance, extinct plants included those that were used for recreational tea (Centaurea cyanus and Nepeta cataria) and as a snack (Vaccinium uliginosum, Corylus avellana, Oxalis actosella, and Pinus sylvestris). In addition, some taxa were used for food practices no longer in circulation: bread making (Acorus calamus), meat smoking (Juniperus communis and Populus tremula), and famine foods associated with WWII and the post-war period (Stellaria media, Chenopodium album, and Heracleum sphondylium). Some interviewees also stressed that plants such as Armoracia rusticana and Carum carvi have become feral and no longer need to be planted as they grow on their own, without intervention. Moreover, our field materials revealed that wild apple and pear trees have gone out of use, as they have been replaced by cultivated ones (Malus sylvestris and Pyrus pyraster).
Despite their extinction from the natural landscape, we found that many plants continue to exist in the discourse of an ethnic group, as they are still highly involved in food traditions (e.g., Papaver for making Christmas and Easter pastries, Vaccinium oxycoccos for making kissel, etc.). These traditions remain very strong in the studied communities as almost every interviewee noted that they try to keep making certain dishes within the family on major Catholic holidays so that now they buy all the ingredients in shops. Furthermore, we observe here an essential feature: even if the plant has fallen out of natural circulation due to the social and ecological changes that took place during the 20th century, it remains culturally important.
The homogeneity in LEK observed between Lithuanian and Polish communities settled in both Belarus and Lithuania may likely be explained by their long period of coexistence within the same (Soviet) social and political system, as already discussed in other post-Soviet ethnobotanical case studies [22,26]. The high homogeneity of wild food plant knowledge between Poles from Belarus and Poles from Poland may be the result of the long-term effects of a shared, common history before 1939 (actively emphasized by interviewees) and the current unrestricted communication between the two groups where the research was conducted, owing to a simplified border crossing system.
The identified convergent trajectories of LEK circulation among the studied ethnic groups may represent the primary response to recent cultural globalization forces. Globalization acts to foster relationships between heterogeneous communities, often transcending national borders, even though the flow of knowledge within national boundaries may be limited as well [66]. Thus, we cannot exclude the effects of globalization [67] on the blurring of borders and the statistically insignificant differences in plant taxa used nowadays by the studied ethnic groups. While powerful global forces such as market expansion and linguistic colonization may have a widespread erosional effect, this is not inevitable, and culture- and site-specific factors also determine the outcome [68,69,70].
Although the prevalence of high consensus levels for wild food species between Polish and Lithuanian interviewees living in Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus is significant, there are many levels of divergence in ethnobotanical knowledge noted between these two ethnic groups within the country case studies. Distinct cultural groups tend to diverge in food practices through specific cultural associations with consumable resources [63]. In particular, ethnic group-level statistically significant heterogeneity is observed within one country. The marked heterogeneity in LEK observed between Poles from Poland and Lithuanians from Lithuania can likely be explained by the presence of the hard Lithuanian-Polish border and the almost total lack of contact between the two communities during Communist/Soviet times. The closed Soviet-Polish border strongly influenced wild food plant knowledge circulation as, in all cases, Poland is quantitatively different from former Soviet Lithuania and Belarus. Free circulation of social discourse on wild food plants and free practical application (access to resources) are the basis for resistance and help develop adaptive food security strategies that allow substantially independent policy decisions.

5. Conclusions

We documented a high diversity of wild plants used for food within the studied cross-border region, while the number of plants used by each specific research group was considerably smaller. This and the high ICF obtained for the whole region show that every studied group has preserved (obtained) a fraction of the general wild food plant knowledge circulating within the region. This may signal the existence of long-term effects of common, shared traditional ecological knowledge within the entire region.
Our findings suggest that the divergences observed are possibly linked to various environmental, cultural, social, political, and economic shifts experienced by the studied countries. We also noticed clear differences on the discourse level, which would require separate qualitative analyses of attitudes and sentiments, which cannot be reflected in descriptive statistics. Our findings indicate that different permeabilities of former boundaries of the Soviet Union might have influenced wild food plant knowledge circulation (Belarusian-Polish vs Polish-Lithuanian borders). The consequences of various political settings on knowledge circulation needs to be addressed by future studies.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, J.P. and R.S; methodology, R.S.; validation, J.P., R.K. and R.S.; formal analysis, J.P.; resources, R.S.; data curation, J.P. and P.Š.; writing—original draft preparation, J.P.; writing—review and editing, J.P., M.S., P.Š., R.K., A.P. and R.S.; visualization, J.P.; supervision, A.P. and R.S. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


The research was conducted with the financial support of the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant number 714874). MS was supported by the Chilean National Agency for Research and Development Doctoral Fellowship (No. 21210819, ANID 2021).

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the International Society of Ethnobiology and approved by the Ethics Committee of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy).

Informed Consent Statement

Written and oral consent were obtained from all participants prior to the interviews.

Data Availability Statement

Data are available upon request to the corresponding author.


We particularly thank the Polish and Lithuanian communities in Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus for their warm welcome and generous sharing of knowledge. We extend our gratitude to Baiba Prūse, Ieva Mežaka, and Andra Simanova for their kind assistance in conducting the Lithuanian fieldwork.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interests.


LEK—Local Ecological Knowledge; PL—Polish community; LT—Lithuanian community; BYLT—Lithuanians living in Belarus; BYPL—Poles from Belarus; LTLT—Lithuanians from Lithuania; LTPL—Poles living in Lithuania; PLLT—Lithuanians from Poland; PLPL—Poles living in Poland; UR—Use Reports; NU—Number of Uses; FL—Fidelity Level, RFC—Relative Frequency of Citation; ICF—Informant Consensus Factor; CI—Cultural importance; WWII—World War II.

Appendix A

Table A1. Overview of ethnobotanical calculations.
Table A1. Overview of ethnobotanical calculations.
Use reports (UR) U R s = u = u 1 u N C i = i 1 i N U R u i The total uses of the species by all interviewees within each use category for that species.[58]
Number of uses (NU) N U S = u = u 1 u N C The total number of use categories.[58]
Fidelity level (FL) F L s = N s 100 F C s The percentage of interviewees who use a plant for the same purpose compared to all uses of the plant for any purpose, where Ns is the number of interviewees that use a particular plant for a specific purpose, and FCs is the frequency of citation for the species.[59]
Relative frequency of citation (RFC) R F C s = F C s N = i = i 1 i N U R i N The frequency of citation for each species s, where URi refers to the use reports for all interviewees i, and N is the total number of interviewees in the survey.[60]
Cultural importance (CI) C I s = u = u 1 u N C i = i 1 i N U R u i N The sum of the proportion of interviewees that mention the use of each species.[59]
Informant consensus factor (ICF) I C F = N u r N t N u r 1 Quantitative parameter to evaluate of agreement among interviewees’ knowledge circulated, where Nur is the number of use reports in the food category, and Nt is the number of species (taxa).[61]

Appendix B

Figure A1. Radial plots of cultural importance (CI) index values for the case studies: (a) BYLT, (b) BYPL, (c) LTLT, (d) LTPL, (e) PLLT, and (f) PLPL. Analysis performed using EthnobotanyR package in RStudio.
Figure A1. Radial plots of cultural importance (CI) index values for the case studies: (a) BYLT, (b) BYPL, (c) LTLT, (d) LTPL, (e) PLLT, and (f) PLPL. Analysis performed using EthnobotanyR package in RStudio.
Biology 12 00571 g0a1


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Figure 1. Map of the study area. The border region, which consists entirely of lowlands with a maximum altitude of ca. 240 m above sea level, extends over parts of northern Podlasie (NE Poland), Dzūkija (SE Lithuania), and various districts in the Neman River Basin (NE Belarus); designed with QGIS 3.22.16 ‘Białowieża’.
Figure 1. Map of the study area. The border region, which consists entirely of lowlands with a maximum altitude of ca. 240 m above sea level, extends over parts of northern Podlasie (NE Poland), Dzūkija (SE Lithuania), and various districts in the Neman River Basin (NE Belarus); designed with QGIS 3.22.16 ‘Białowieża’.
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Figure 2. Typical landscapes of the (a) Belarusian, (b) Lithuanian, and (c) Polish parts of the studied border area. Credit: J.P., 2018–2019.
Figure 2. Typical landscapes of the (a) Belarusian, (b) Lithuanian, and (c) Polish parts of the studied border area. Credit: J.P., 2018–2019.
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Figure 3. Violin plot of the age distribution of the sample in the three studied countries.
Figure 3. Violin plot of the age distribution of the sample in the three studied countries.
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Figure 4. Wild species used for food: (a) mixed herbs dried for recreational tea, Lithuania; (b) herbs prepared for recreational tea, Poland; (c) wine made from Rubus idaeus, Belarus; (d) compote, made from Fragaria vesca, Lithuania; and (e) snack of Viburnum opulus, Belarus. Credit: J.P., 2018–2019.
Figure 4. Wild species used for food: (a) mixed herbs dried for recreational tea, Lithuania; (b) herbs prepared for recreational tea, Poland; (c) wine made from Rubus idaeus, Belarus; (d) compote, made from Fragaria vesca, Lithuania; and (e) snack of Viburnum opulus, Belarus. Credit: J.P., 2018–2019.
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Figure 5. Box plots for the ‘number of taxa mentioned’ grouped by (a) country, (b) ethnic group, and (c) case study.
Figure 5. Box plots for the ‘number of taxa mentioned’ grouped by (a) country, (b) ethnic group, and (c) case study.
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Figure 6. Distribution of the number of taxa mentioned in Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland according to the year of birth of interviewees. The size of the circle correlates with the number of taxa mentioned.
Figure 6. Distribution of the number of taxa mentioned in Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland according to the year of birth of interviewees. The size of the circle correlates with the number of taxa mentioned.
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Figure 7. (a) Venn diagrams for the division of used taxa and use instances: A, recorded in Belarus (red), Lithuania (green), and Poland (violet); B, among Lithuanians living in Belarus (red), Lithuania (green), and Poland (violet); C, among Poles living in Belarus (red), Lithuania (green), and Poland (violet); (b) Jaccard similarity indices for the various compared groups based on detailed use reports, where A—Lithuanians in Belarus, B—Poles in Belarus, C—Lithuanians in Lithuania, D—Poles in Lithuania, E—Lithuanians in Poland, and F—Poles in Poland.
Figure 7. (a) Venn diagrams for the division of used taxa and use instances: A, recorded in Belarus (red), Lithuania (green), and Poland (violet); B, among Lithuanians living in Belarus (red), Lithuania (green), and Poland (violet); C, among Poles living in Belarus (red), Lithuania (green), and Poland (violet); (b) Jaccard similarity indices for the various compared groups based on detailed use reports, where A—Lithuanians in Belarus, B—Poles in Belarus, C—Lithuanians in Lithuania, D—Poles in Lithuania, E—Lithuanians in Poland, and F—Poles in Poland.
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Table 1. Sample distribution by gender, age, education, and language.
Table 1. Sample distribution by gender, age, education, and language.
(n = 33)
(n = 36)
(n = 30)
(n = 37)
(n = 32)
(n = 32)
0 Female 312923272521
1 Male 27710711
Age (years)
Min/maxmin = 44
max = 89
min = 43
max = 94
min = 42
max = 89
min = 39
max = 97
min = 38
max = 90
min = 40
max = 92
Mean/dispersionMean 72.27
Dispersion 0.15
Mean 73.83
Dispersion 0.18
Mean 65.20
Dispersion 0.20
Mean 71.27
Dispersion 0.18
Mean 67.81
Dispersion 0.18
Mean 71.0
Dispersion 0.21
Standard deviation11.02913.53413.29912.65012.40015.151
0 no schooling200000
1 primary121571258
2 lower secondary6846116
3 upper secondary145774
4 post-secondary non-tertiary771312513
5 equivalent tertiary education level521041
Number of spoken languages
Table 2. Use of wild plants for food among Lithuanians living in Belarus (BYLT), Lithuania (LTLT), and Poland (PLLT); and Poles from Belarus (BYPL), Lithuania (LTPL), and Poland (PLPL). Local name (s): PL—mentioned among the Polish community; LT—among the Lithuanian community.
Table 2. Use of wild plants for food among Lithuanians living in Belarus (BYLT), Lithuania (LTLT), and Poland (PLLT); and Poles from Belarus (BYPL), Lithuania (LTPL), and Poland (PLPL). Local name (s): PL—mentioned among the Polish community; LT—among the Lithuanian community.
FamilyLatin Name; Voucher NumberLocal Name(s): Used Part(s)PreparationFood UseBYLTBYPLLTLTLTPLPLLTPLPL
AcoraceaeAcorus calamus L.; DZUPL003, DZULT080PL: aer, ajeras, aleras, jagier, kalmus, tatarak, ajer, air
LT: ajerai, arieliai, ajeras, aleras, alerai, ajyr, areliai, tatarak, ajer
leavesdriedunder bread during baking231119
freshseasoning for bread 1
under bread during baking6 35619
stemsfreshdessert 1
snack 1 2
AmaranthaceaeChenopodium album L.; DZULT105PL: lebioda, lebeda, lebiada
LT: balanda, balandos, lebeda
aerial partscookedsoup 91 5
driedbread additive 1
freshsalad 1 1
leavescookedsoup 1
driedsoup 1
young plantscookedsoup 2
ApiaceaeAegopodium podagraria L.PL: podagrycznik, śnitka, snyć
LT: garšva
leavescookedsoup12 1
driedsoup 1
freshsalad 1 2
frozensoup 1
young leavesfreshsalad 2
Anethum graveolens L.; DDZULT29, DZULT063PL: koperek, krop, ukrop
LT: krapus, krop, krapai, ukrop
aerial partsfreshseasoning for lactofermented cucumbers 1
seedsdriedseasoning for bread2 2
seasoning for sauerkraut54
Carum carvi L.; DDZULT40, DDZUPL36PL: kmin, kminek, kmynai, kmynas, tmin, kmien
LT: kmyn, kmynai, kmynas, kmin, tmin
seedsdriedrecreational tea 111233
seasoning for bread2224129
seasoning for cheese 1
seasoning for lactofermented cucumbers 1
seasoning for meat11 2
seasoning for sauerkraut9831178
seasoning for sausages12
taste additive to alcohol1 3 1
Heracleum sphondylium L.PL: boršč
LT: barščiai, grobūzdai, barštis
leavescookedsoup2 62
driedsoup 2
saltedsoup 1
AsteraceaeAchillea millefolium L.; DZUPL042, DDZUPL17, DZULT027, DZULT038,
PL: kraujažolė, tysiačalistnik
LT: kraujažolė
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea 323
Arctium tomentosum Mill.PL: łopian leavesfreshto preserve fresh meat 1
salad 1
Artemisia vulgaris L.; DZUPL040, DZUPL094,
LT: kietisaerial partsdriedrecreational tea 1
Centaurea cyanus L.; DDZULT31, DZULT110 PL: chaber
LT: rugiagėlė, vosilkė, vosilkės, rugių gėlės, vosilkos
flowersdriedrecreational tea1 4 1
Cichorium intybus L.; DZUPL029, DZUPL075 PL: cykoria, cykoryjrootsroastedcoffee substitute 1 1
Cirsium oleraceum (L.) Scop.LT: grabuzda, grobūzdai, grobūzdas leavescookedsoup4 1
fermentedcold soup 1
Helichrysum arenarium (L.) Moench; DZUPL049,
LT: katpėdėlės, sausukaiaerial partsdriedrecreational tea 1
flowersdriedrecreational tea 1
Matricaria chamomilla L.;
PL: ramunek, rumianek, ramašačka, ramaška, ramonki, romashka, rumianki, rumiańki
LT: ramunėlės, ramunėliai, laukiniai, ramunukai, ramunėlės, ramunukai, ramunės, rumianki, romashka, ramunukai, ramaška, rumianački
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea117256
flowersdriedrecreational tea1 1457
Taraxacum officinale (L.) Weber ex F.H.Wigg.; DZUPL051, DZUPL064, DDZUPL09PL: pienė, pienės
LT: mlecz, mniszek, aduvančyk
flowersfreshrecreational tea 1
salad 1
snack 1
cookedsyrup132 22
leavesfreshsalad 13 21
Tussilago farfara L.; DZUPL058, DZULT108LT: podbieł flowersdriedrecreational tea 1
BerberidaceaeBerberis vulgaris L.PL: barbarysfruitscookedcompote 2
BetulaceaeAlnus spp. ( Alnus incana (L.) Moench, Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.) PL: olcha, olsza, olszyna, alcha, alšyna, volcha, olšyna
LT: alcha, alksnis, ankšliai, juodalksnis, ol’kha
wooddriedto smoke meat and fish381192018
Betula spp. ( Betula pendula Roth, Betula pubescens Ehrh.); DZUPL053, DZULT013, DZULT050PL: biaroza, brzoza, beržas, bereza, bžoza, biarjeza
LT: beržas, bieroza, bieržalis, bereza, biržas, biaroza
budsdriedrecreational tea 2
leavesdriedrecreational tea 2
sapfermentedkvass 1112
frozendrink 41
wooddriedto smoke meat131221
Corylus avellana L.; DZUPL078, DZULT127PL: lazdynas, leszczyna, orzech, arešnik, arešyna, laščynaLT: lazdynas, riešutai, laščyna seedsdriedsnack42205 14
wooddriedto smoke meat 1
BoraginaceaeBorago officinalis L.; DZULT104, DZUPL021LT: agurklė, aguročiai, ogurečnikflowersdriedrecreational tea 1
leavesfreshsalad 2 1
seedsdriedrecreational tea 1
Symphytum officinale L.;
LT: riebešaknis, živakostasleavesfreshsalad 1
BrassicaceaeArmoracia rusticana P.Gaertn., B.Mey. & Scherb.; DZULT022, DZUPL024PL: chren, chrzan, krzan, chšanLT: chrienas, krienai, krienas, chren, kren leavesfreshseasoning for lactofermented cucumbers9143131421
seasoning for meat 1 2
under bread during baking 123
rootsfreshseasoning for lactofermented cucumbers18 31717
seasoning for meat dishes8214132721
Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.; DZULT024LT: triskiautė žvakidė aerial partsdriedrecreational tea 1
Thlaspi arvense L.; DDZUPL32LT: bogužai, bogužis, bogužusseedsdriedseasoning 4
CampanulaceaeCampanula sp.LT: skambučaiflowersfreshsnack 1
CannabaceaeHumulus lupulus L.; DZUPL009PL: chmiel
LT: apyniai
conesdriedadded to beer 2 1 1
recreational tea 1 1
CaryophyllaceaeStellaria media (L.) Vill.; DZULT099PL: makryca
LT: makryca, žliūgė
aerial partscookedsoup 2
freshsalad1 3
CupressaceaeJuniperus communis L.; DZUPL057, DZULT001PL: aglis, kadagys, jadłowiec, jałowiec, jedłowiec, kadugys, jedłaviec, jełaviec, mažževielnik, jałaviec
LT: ėglis, jėglis, jieglalis, kadagys,
kadugys, ėglukas
erškėtukas, jałaviec
fruits dried seasoning for meat and fish 111 5
seasoning for sauerkraut 11
wooddriedto smoke meat and fish3101312176
ElaeagnaceaeElaeagnus rhamnoides (L.) A.NelsonPL: oblepicha
LT: šaltalankis
fruitsfreshdrink 1
snack 1 1
EquisetaceaeEquisetum pratense Ehrh.; DDZUPL10LT: ožkabarzdisaerial partsdriedrecreational tea 1
EricaceaeCalluna vulgaris (L.) Hull;
LT: viržisflowersdriedrecreational tea 1
seedsdriedbread additive 2
Empetrum nigrum L.LT: varnavuogėsfruitscookedcompote2
frozenraw jam2
Vaccinium myrtillus L.; DZUPL056, DZULT100PL: czarne, czarne jagody, czarnicy, czarnicznik, mėlynės, čarnika, čarnicy, čarnička, chernaya yagoda, chernika, chernyye yagody, čornaja jahada, čornyja, čornyja jahady
LT: čarnika, juodos, uogos, čarnyca, čarnykai, čarnicy, čornyja jahady, juodos, mėlynės, mėlynė, mėlyneuogės, mėlynos uogos, juodos uogos, čarničnik, chernika
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea4373
driedrecreational tea 1
snack2213 4
freshadditive to yogurt1
dessert with milk (sugar)2 2 32
juice 1
added to pies 1 3 2
frozendumplings 1
raw jam434331
snack 222
leavesdriedrecreational tea 1
Vaccinium oxycoccos L.PL: klukwa, spanguolės, żurawina, żurawiny, klyukva, žuraviny
LT: spalgenos, spanguolės, žuraviny, klyukva
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea 1
fruitscookedcompote 1
freshdessert with sugar 1 1
kissel2 1322
added to pies 1 2
seasoning for meat 42
seasoning for sauerkraut7828510
snack2 3434
taste additive to alcohol 3
frozenraw jam 212
Vaccinium uliginosum L.PL: pjanicy
LT: galubika, girtuoklės, buruvka, žaminės, uogos, sinitsa, sinicy
freshdessert 1
snack4 12
Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.; DZUPL055 PL: borówka, borówki, bruknės, brusnicy, brusnika, boruvki, bruśnika, bruśnicy, bruśničnik
LT: bruknė, bruknės, brukneuogės, bruknojai, brusnychnik, bruknienojai, brusnykai, juodos uogos, brusnika, bruśnika, bruśnica, bruśničnik
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea11
fruitscookedcompote211 1
freshadditive to yogurt1
dessert 1 1
juice 1
kissel 1
added to pies 1 1
seasoning for meat1 1
seasoning for sauerkraut 1
frozenraw jam4 6122
leavesdriedrecreational tea1 31
FabaceaeRobinia pseudoacacia L.PL: akacja
LT: akacija
flowerscookedjam 1
freshdessert 1
fruitsfreshsnack 1
Trifolium pratense L.; DZUPL068PL: koniuczyna
LT: dobilas, klever, raudoni dobilai
flowersdriedrecreational tea 3
salad 1
FagaceaeQuercus robur L.; DZULT048, DZUPL086PL: dąb, dub
LT: aožolas, ąžuolas, aržuolas, ąžuolas, ąžuolo žievė, dąb, dub, ūžuolas
acornsroastedcoffee substitute 21
barkdriedtaste additive to alcohol1 1
leavesdriedunder bread during baking 145
freshseasoning for lactofermented cucumbers122267
wooddriedto smoke meat and fish111 13
HypericaceaeHypericum spp. (Hypericum maculatum Crantz, Hypericum perforatum L.); DDZUPL08, DZUPL034, DZUPL087, DZUPL103, DDZULT20, DZULT075PL: dziurawiec, jonažolės, zwieraboj, źvieraboj
LT: jonažolės, jonažolinai, švento jankos, zvieraboj, svianty jansky, śvientajanskija ziołki
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea627311
LamiaceaeLeonurus cardiaca L.; DZUPL085LT: širdininkaiaerial partsdriedrecreational tea 1
Melissa officinalis L.; DZULT014, DZUPL037, DDZUPL18, DDZULT01PL: melisa
LT: melisa
leavesdried recreational tea325121
taste additive to alcohol 1
Mentha spp. (Mentha spicata L., Mentha × piperita L.); DDZUPL04, DZUPL004, DZUPL007, DZUPL032, DZUPL047, DZUPL106, DDZULT11, DZULT021, DZULT043PL: mėta, miata, mięta, miata miedzinaja, mielisa
LT: karčioji mėta, pipirmėtė, mėta, mėta šokoladinė, mėtos, miata pieriecnaja, miata, miata pieračnaja, paprova miata
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea9 11
seasoning for processed birch sap1
leavesdriedrecreational tea81410121212
seasoning for meat2 3
taste additive to alcohol 1
Nepeta cataria L.; DZULT076LT: citrininė katažolė, melisaleavesdriedrecreational tea3 1
Origanum vulgare L.; DZUPL063, DZUPL025, DDZUPL23, DDZUPL25PL: macierzanka, macierzynka, dušyca
LT: čobraliai, mociežanka
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea 11
seasoning 1 31
seasoning for blood soup 1
seasoning for cheese 1
seasoning for meat 3
Thymus spp. (Thymus pulegioides L.); DZULT007, DZULT026, DZUPL039, DDZUPL19, DDZUPL31PL: čiobreliai, czambor, czamborek, čabarok, čabrjelaj, chabrets, čambor, čamborek, čombar
LT: čiobreliai, čiobrelis, čiombaras, čobraliai, tymianek, čabrec
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea258711
seasoning 11 1
seasoning for bread 1
MalvaceaeTilia cordata Mill.; DDZULT10, DDZULT14, DZULT031, DDZUPL02, DDZUPL29, DZUPL077PL: liepžiedžiai, lipa
LT: liepa, liepos žiedai, liepukai, liepžiedžiai, lipa
flowersdriedrecreational tea51213487
wooddriedto smoke meat 1
OnagraceaeEpilobium angustifolium L.; DDZUPL16PL: iwan-czaj, ivan-chay, ivan-čaj
LT: gaurometis, ivan-chai
aerial partsfermentedrecreational tea 1
leavesdriedrecreational tea 212
fermentedrecreational tea 1
rootsdrieddrink 1
Oenothera biennis L.; DZULT118LT: naktivaišaflowersfreshsnack 1
OxalidaceaeOxalis acetosella L.PL: zajęczy szczaw
LT: kiškio kopūstai
leavesfreshsnack1 11
PapaveraceaePapaver sp.PL: mak
LT: mak
pastries 3 1
PinaceaePinus sylvestris L.; DDZULT02, DDZULT15, DZULT051, DZUPL073PL: sasna
LT: pušis
leaf budsfreshsnack2
shootsfreshsnack 1
wooddriedto smoke meat 1
PlantaginaceaePlantago major L.; DZULT004, DZUPL102PL: babka lancetovata
LT: gysločus, babka lancatavata
leavesdriedrecreational tea 1
freshsnack 1
PoaceaeAnthoxanthum nitens (Weber) Y.Schouten & VeldkampLT: stumbražolė aerial partsdriedtaste additive to alcohol 1
PolygonaceaeRumex acetosa L.; DZULT005, DZULT030, DZUPL084PL: rūgštynės, rūškyniai, szczaujo, szczaw, szczawel, szczawuje, ščav, ščaviej, ščaviel, ščaŭ, ščaŭje, shchavel’, shchavl’
LT: rugštynės, ruškynės, rūgštynės, ruškyniai, rūštynės, ščaŭja, ščaviel, ščaŭje, shchavel’
leavescookedcold soup 8
driedsoup 1
freshsalad11 1
snack2 1
frozensoup132 57
RosaceaeCrataegus sp.; DZULT095PL: bajaryšnik, głog
LT: bajaryšnik, gudobelė
fruitscookedcompote 3
driedrecreational tea1 11
freshsnack 1 1
added to alcoholalcoholic drink 1
leavesdriedrecreational tea 1
Fragaria vesca L.; DZULT025, DZULT037, DZUPL079PL: czerwone, czyrwone, poziomki, žemuogės, zemlyanika, ziemlanika, krasnyje jahody, krasnyja, paziomki, čyrvone
LT: pažiemkos, žamuogės, žamynavuogės, žemuogės, žemvuogės, žemyneuogės, zemlyanika, ziemlanika
aerial partsdriedrecreational tea 212
fruitscookedcompote521 1
driedrecreational tea11 1
freshadditive to yogurt1
dessert3 2 3
drink 1
recreational tea 1 1
frozenraw jam615 3
snack 1
added to alcoholalcoholic drink 1
leavesdriedrecreational tea343212
Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill.PL: jabłoń
LT: laukinė obelis, laukiniai obuoliai
flowersdriedrecreational tea 1
fruitsdriedsnack 1
freshjuice 1
snack 1
frozensnack 1
Pyrus pyraster (L.) Burgsd.PL: grusza, hruša
LT: kriaušė, laukinė kriaušė
flowersdriedrecreational tea 1
fruitscookedcompote1 4
driedsnack 1 2 1
Rosa sp.; DZUPL018, DZUPL061PL: dzika róża, róża, szypownik, šypoŭnik, šypšyna
LT: erškėtrožė, erškėtrožės, šypoŭnik, šypšyna, roza
flowersdriedrecreational tea11
fruitsdriedrecreational tea331114
freshjam 1
snack 1
Rubus caesius L.PL: jeżyna, ježyna
LT: ažiną, gervuogė, ažinykas, gervuogės, jažavika, ježavika
aerial partsfermentedrecreational tea 1
fruitscookedcompote2 1
jam512 1
fermentedwine 1
freshadditive to yoghurt1
dessert 1
juice 1
snack511 1
frozenraw jam1 2
Rubus idaeus L.; DZULT028, DZULT107, DZUPL054PL: avietės, malina, maliny, krasnyja
LT: avietė, avietės, malina, avytevuogės, avytevuogis, malinykas
stemsdriedrecreational tea221121
to smoke meat 1
syrup 1
fermentedwine 11
freshadditive to yoghurt11
dessert with milk (sugar)2 111
juice 1 5
added to pies 1
added to alcohol 1 1
frozen raw jam837131
snack 1 1
leavesdriedrecreational tea311 3
fermentedrecreational tea 1
Sorbus aucuparia L.; DZULT009, DZUPL002PL: jarzębina, šermukšnis, rabina
LT: šermukšniai, šermukšnis
flowersdriedrecreational tea 21
fruitscookedjam 21
syrup 1
freshjuice 1
recreational tea 1
snack 413
frozenraw jam 1
recreational tea 1
snack 1
SalicaceaePopulus tremula L.LT: drebulė, topolisleavesdriedunder bread during baking1
wooddriedto smoke meat 1
SantalaceaeViscum album L.LT: amalasleavesfreshtaste additive to alcohol1
SapindaceaeAcer platanoides L.; DZULT029, DZULT062PL: jawor, klevas, klon
LT: klevas, klon, klianas
leavesdriedunder bread during baking 298
freshunder bread during baking 46
sapfermenteddrink1 121
cookedsyrup 1
frozendrink 3
wooddriedto smoke fish 1
Aesculus hippocastanum L.; DZULT034, DZULT057, DZUPL008LT: kaštonasseedsroastedcoffee substitute 1
UrticaceaeUrtica dioica L.; DZULT002, DZULT017, DZUPL083, DDZUPL01, DDZUPL07PL: dilgėlės, dilginės, pokrzywa, krapiva, krapiŭka, pokšyva
LT: dilgėlas, dirgėlė, dilgėlė, dilgėlės, dilginės, dirgėlės, notrės, dzirgėlė, dzilgėląs, dzirgėlės, krapiva
aerial partscookedsoup1 313
driedrecreational tea 2
soup 11
freshdrink 1
recreational tea 1
salad 2
to preserve fresh meat 2
leavescookedsoup715 10 5
driedrecreational tea 12
seasoning 1
soup 1
freshrecreational tea 1
salad 2
snack 1
seedscookedsoup 1
aerial parts in springcookedsoup17517716
added to sandwiches 1
driedrecreational tea 9
soup 1
freshsalad1 41
Urtica urens L.; DZULT053, DZUPL059PL: pokrzywa
LT: dirgalas, krapiva
leavescookedsoup1 1
ViburnaceaeSambucus nigra L.; DZULT081, DZUPL013, DZUPL016, DDZUPL07, DDZUPL15, DDZUPL22, DDZUPL27PL: czarny bez
LT: bezas, biały bez, juodas bezas, čarny bez, juodi bezai, šeivamedis
flowersdriedrecreational tea 31
cookedsyrup 1
dessert 1
fruitscookedcompote 1
jam 1
driedrecreational tea 1
freshjuice 1
Viburnum opulus L.; DZULT010PL: kalina, putinas
LT: kalina, putinas
flowersdriedrecreational tea 1
fruitsfreshrecreational tea 1
snack 1
syrup 1
driedrecreational tea 2
freshdessert with sugar 1
recreational tea 1
seasoning for sauerkraut1 1
frozenraw jam 11
Table 3. Influence of socio-demographic variables on the number of taxa mentioned by interviewees.
Table 3. Influence of socio-demographic variables on the number of taxa mentioned by interviewees.
(n = 33)
(n = 36)
(n = 30)
(n = 37)
(n = 32)
(n = 32)
Test Total
(n = 200)
(n = 200)
Gender (mean value of the number of taxa mentioned)0–9.13
Student’s t: 0.127
p = 0.905
Student’s t: 0.089
p = 0.931
Student’s t: 0.248
p = 0.810
Student’s t: 2.093
p = 0.047
Student’s t: 4.621
p = 0.000
Student’s t: 2.469
p = 0.022
χ2 test: 8.450.133
Education level
(mean value of the num-ber of taxa mentioned)
ANOVA: 1.048
p = 0.399
ANOVA: 0.251
p = 0.860
ANOVA: 3.854
p = 0.013
ANOVA: 1.1590.331
(mean value of the num-ber of taxa mentioned)
ANOVA: 0.687
p = 0.510
ANOVA: 4.376
p = 0.013
ANOVA: 0.656
p = 0.585
Student’s t: 0.304
p = 0.304
Student’s t: 0.604
p = 0.595
ANOVA: 0.8000.495
Table 4. The relative frequency of citation of the top 20 wild plants mentioned by interviewees in the study area.
Table 4. The relative frequency of citation of the top 20 wild plants mentioned by interviewees in the study area.
Vaccinium myrtillus0.6470.8290.8000.6840.6880.844
Rubus idaeus0.5000.4000.6330.3680.6560.375
Rumex acetosa0.8530.8000.8330.5000.7810.844
Carum carvi0.5880.4570.6330.5530.7500.531
Urtica dioica0.7350.5710.6670.4740.7810.281
Betula spp.0.4410.6860.5670.6320.6560.594
Fragaria vesca0.5590.6570.4330.2370.4060.375
Armoracia rusticana0.3820.6860.1330.4740.7190.906
Vaccinium oxycoccos0.3240.2290.2000.3680.2810.594
Acer platanoides0.1760.2570.7330.5790.3750.125
Vaccinium vitis-idaea0.2350.1430.6000.3160.2190.281
Mentha spp.0.5290.3710.3000.3160.3440.438
Acorus calamus0.2350.0860.5000.1580.4690.625
Juniperus communis0.0880.3140.4000.3420.5000.312
Alnus spp.0.0590.2290.3330.2370.4690.562
Matricaria chamomilla0.3530.2000.1000.2370.2810.219
Tilia cordata0.1470.3140.4000.1050.2190.250
Quercus robur0.1180.1140.3330.1320.1880.312
Corylus avellana0.0880.0570.4330.1050.0000.406
Thymus spp.0.0590.1430.2330.1840.3440.000
Table 5. Informant consensus factor.
Table 5. Informant consensus factor.
Case StudySum of Use Reports (UR)Number of Taxa MentionedInformant Consensus Factor (ICF)
All case studies2344720.96969697
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Prakofjewa, J.; Sartori, M.; Šarka, P.; Kalle, R.; Pieroni, A.; Sõukand, R. Boundaries Are Blurred: Wild Food Plant Knowledge Circulation across the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian Borderland. Biology 2023, 12, 571.

AMA Style

Prakofjewa J, Sartori M, Šarka P, Kalle R, Pieroni A, Sõukand R. Boundaries Are Blurred: Wild Food Plant Knowledge Circulation across the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian Borderland. Biology. 2023; 12(4):571.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Prakofjewa, Julia, Matteo Sartori, Povilas Šarka, Raivo Kalle, Andrea Pieroni, and Renata Sõukand. 2023. "Boundaries Are Blurred: Wild Food Plant Knowledge Circulation across the Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian Borderland" Biology 12, no. 4: 571.

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