Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol 27, Issue 1, 2021; Page No.(374-381)

DIVERSITY OF EDIBLE PLANTS IN HOME GARDENS OF THE EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA

Alfred Maroyi

Abstract

Many plant species cultivated and maintained in home gardens offer a wide range of ecosystem goods and services. The current study was undertaken in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa to document edible plant species cultivated and maintained in home gardens.Research data were collected through interviews and field surveys carried out in different seasons with one hundred and thirty two randomly selected participants. During the interviews, we documented information on names of edible plants grown and managed in home gardens, uses, plant parts used and preparation of edible plants. A total of 40 edible plantsbelonging to 34 genera and 23 families were recorded in the study area. The plant families with the highest number of edible plants were Amaranthaceae (5 species), followed by Asteraceae and Solanaceae with 4 species each, and Rosaceae with 3 species.The main uses of plants grown and maintained in home gardens were edible fruits (45.0%), leafy vegetables (40.0%), edible tubers (15.0%), edible seeds and culinary herbs or spices (10.0% each). The species which were categorized as important with a relative frequency of citation (RFC) values e”0.3 were Brassica oleracea L., Solanum tuberosum L., Zea mays L., Cucurbita moschata Duchesne ex Poir., Spinacia oleracea L. and Cucurbita maxima Duchesne. Home gardens are important agroforestry land-use systems that need to be recognized in terms of their food production.

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