Prioritizing Wild Edible Plants for potential new crops based on Deciduous Forest traditional knowledge by a Rancher community

Juan Fernando Pío-León, Francisco Delgado-Vargas, José Luis León-de la Luz, Alfredo Ortega-Rubio


Background. There are several ethnobotanical indices to evaluate the importance of wild edible plants; however, they are biased and it is unclear their contribution for the selection of priority species for developing new crops. In Mexico, most of the ethnobotanical studies have been focused in indigenous people but few in non-indigenous people of rural communities; such is the case of the rancher.

Hypotheses. Ranchers have accumulated their own knowledge in the use of wild edible plants; this knowledge combined with a proper ethnobotanical index would be the base for identifying potential new crops.

Study site and dates. Fifty-three semi-structured interviews about the use of wild edible plants between the Sudcalifornian ranchers of Cape Region, Baja California, were conducted in 2015.

Methods. Plant importance was determined by the Food Significance Index (FSI) and the Salience Index (SI); additionally, both indices were coupled to a selection system based on culinary diversity to reduce the bias and identify the priority species.

Results. Fifty-one taxa of wild edible plants were recorded, mostly fruits and vegetables. Knowledge erosion was not observed between men population but in women. The FSI and SI showed differences in their assessments, but both identified almost the same priority species after coupling them to the selection system based on culinary diversity.

Conclusions. For the selection of food priority species is recommended the coupling of FSI/ SI and the culinary selection system.  At regional level, we propose the species Cnidoscolus maculatus, Stenocereus thurberi, and Matelea cordifolia as the most promissory new crops.


Wild edible plants; deciduous forest; dry forest; ethnobotany; ethnobotanical indices

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ISSN: 2007-4476
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