An Ethnobotanical Study of Wild Edible Plants in the Northern West Bank

Discussion Committee: 
Prof. Mohammed S. Ali
Prof. Mohammed S. Ali-Shtayeh
Nadeen Sadeq Abdullah Hinnawi
This ethno botanical study of wild edible plants was conducted from Feberuary to August 2007 in six districts in the northern West Bank of Palestine. The study area included Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqalia, Jenin, Salfit, and Tubas districts of the West Bank. The studied region is located within the semi costal, central high lands and the eastern slopes agroeclogical zones. This area is characterized by mild weather. The aim of this study was to document the indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge related to uses of wild edible plant species and the assessment of the existing threats to these plants, to identify the native and naturalized plants in respect to their utilization, as well as to evaluate the conservation status and cultivation potential. In addition, the study examined the antioxidant activity of Majorana syriaca using DPPH and β-carotene assays.Information was collected from 215 informants from 39 villages in the different locations. Fifty eight wild edible plant species which are classified among 22 families and 55 genera were documented. Forty nine of these plants were mentioned by 3 informants and more were distributed across 20 families and 46 genera. The most widely used plants are: (Majorana syriaca, Malva neglecta, Salvia hierosolymitana, Cyclamen persicum, Gundelia tournefortii, Coridothymus capitatus, Mentha spicata, Cichorium pumilumjacq, Teucrium polium,and Arum palaestinun).This study revealed that the Cultural important index (CI) of the studied plant species varied in the different localities. It indicated that Majorana syriaca ranked number one with a mCI value of 1.9683. Another group of species had a mCI value ranging between 0.5-0.9, these include: Arum palaestinum, Centaurea dumulosa, Cichorium pumilumjacq, Gageachl orantha, Gundelia tournefortii, Malva sylvestris Matricaria aurea, Rumex acetosa, and Rumex Patientia, Salvia fruticosa, Salvia hierosolymitana, and Teucrium polium.Regarding the Cultural importance of the families, this study showed that Labiaetae is the most important family with 4.953 mCI, followed by Asteraceae (3.19 mCI), Polygonaceae (1.64 mCI), Araceae (.926 mCI), Primulaceae (0.92 mCI) and Brassicaceae with (0.81 mCI) value. The antioxidant activity of Majorana syriaca, extract showed 50% inhibition of DPPH absorption, A total phenolic compound amount in thyme ethanolic extract was found to be 37.3μg mg-1 pyrocatechol equivalent, with a total flavonoids compound of 146μg mg-1 quercetin. Regardless of the large number of reported plant species and their uses in both food and medicine, this study showed the need for protecting these species. In addition, a study of their side effects on human health is needed.
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