Beyond food and medicine, but necessary for life, too: Other folk plant uses in several territories of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands

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Abstract

Background: Ethnobotanical academic research, particularly in European industrialised countries, has been, and is, mostly focused on folk uses of food and medicinal plants. Nevertheless, other uses, as may well be supposed, account for a significant portion of these folk uses. In the Catalan linguistic domain, a considerable amount of ethnobotanical work has been produced, but to date almost nothing has been published on these other plant uses. Methods: We basically used the method of semistructured interviews to collect data on names, knowledge and use of plants in the above-mentioned fields from 759 informants in three Catalonian (Alt Empordà, Montseny and Ripollès) and two Balearic (Formentera and Mallorca) areas. We identified the plants quoted by the informants and prepared herbarium vouchers. We analysed and compared the results obtained. Results: Information has been collected on 401 genera, 552 species, 81 subspecies and four varieties, belonging to 122 families, totalling 4137 use reports for popular non-food and non-medicinal uses (classified in 14 modalities), and designated with 1303 folk Catalan names. The informant consensus factor is 0.87, accounting for a consistent and robust dataset. Conclusion: Contrarily to what could be thought a priori, and irrespective of the fact that some uses are declining or changing, non-medicinal and non-food folk plant uses strongly persist in the territories considered, are highly considered by their practitioners, and may even imply some economic revenues.

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Gras, A., Garnatje, T., Bonet, M. À., Carrió, E., Mayans, M., Parada, M., … Vallès, J. (2016). Beyond food and medicine, but necessary for life, too: Other folk plant uses in several territories of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-016-0097-8

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