Ethnobotanical, economic and nutritive potentials of aquatic vascular flora in the Nigerian Savanna.
A field survey was conducted to evaluate the distribution and nutrient composition of common aquatic flora of the Nigerian Savanna. Eighteen species, belonging to 14 families, were identified in selected wetland habitats within the study area. Polygonum lanigerum was the most widely distributed, while Sesbania bispinosa, Pistia stratiotes, Centella asiatica, Dulichium arundinaceum and Salvinia molesta were the least widely occurring. The crude fibre content ranged from 7.69 (Sesbania bispinosa) to 14.90% (Ipomoea aquatica), while protein content ranged from 4.93 (D. arundinaceum) to 16.90% (I. aquatica). Nitrogen and potassium were found in generally higher concentrations than magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Total nitrogen ranged from 1.12 (D. arundinaceum) to 3.84% (I. aquatica). Potassium ranged from 0.31 (Cyperus digitatus) to 2.75% (I. aquatica). Calcium ranged from 0.12 (Nymphaea lotus) to 1.50% (Cassia occidentalis). Phosphorus and magnesium generally occurred at concentrations of 0.50% and below. Options for utilization of aquatic plants as sources of food, animal feed, industrial raw materials and in traditional medicinal or herbal remedies are discussed.