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Abstract

Ethnobotanical review of wild edible plants used in the Czech Republic.

Abstract

This paper is the literature survey of wild food plants used within the present borders of the Czech Republic. Thirty-seven freely available publications documenting the culinary use of wild plants were examined. The use of 175 vascular plant species (approximately 5% of native and naturalized flora of the Czech Republic), 3 lichens and 1 bryophyte has been reported. For each species listed, plant parts used, use category and mode of consumption are given. Rosaceae, Asteraceae and Ericaceae were the most represented botanical families. The most frequently reported categories of plant uses include green vegetables (e.g. Urtica dioica, Glechoma hederacea, Rumex spp., Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia), seasonings (e.g. Juniperus communis, Viola spp.), wild fruits (e.g. Rubus idaeus, Rosa canina), and beverages (e.g. Cornus mas, Sambucus nigra). The structure of the most commonly used wild food taxa is similar to those used in other central European countries like Poland, Slovakia or Hungary. This review highlights the traditional knowledge of wild edible plants which were used in the Czech Republic since 16th century onwards with an attempt to document diversity of plant species and discuss the current potential of the forgotten plants used in the past.