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Title: Wild Edible Herbs in Paddy Fields and Their Sale in a Mixture in Houaphan Province, the Lao People's Democratic Republic
Authors: Kosaka, Y; Xayvongsa, L; Vilayphone, A; Chanthavong, H; Takeda, S; Kato, M
Issue Date: 2013
Citation: ECON BOT;Econ. Bot.;DEC;2013;67;4
Abstract: Wild Edible Herbs in Paddy Fields and Their Sale in a Mixture in Houaphan Province, the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Multiple wild edible herbs coexist in paddy fields under the agricultural practices used for growing rice. Paddy field vegetation was surveyed and the rural population's perceptions and use of wild edible herbs were investigated in the northern Lao People's Democratic Republic. A total of 115 wild herbaceous species were observed in the paddy fields of two villages; 52 species grew in fields, 95 on levees, and 63 on banks. Of these, 25 species were locally used, and 22 were sold as a mixture at the Xamneua market, with species composition varying by availability and season. The total number of edible greens increased during the summer season when available vegetables were scarce. Marsilea quadrifolia L. (Marsileaceae), the most abundant in the field and in the market, as well as Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. (Apiaceae), Eryngium foetidum L. (Apiaceae), Spilanthes oleracea L. (Asteraceae), and Monochoria hastata (L.) Solms (Pontederiaceae) were the most popular wild herbs sold. Wild edible herbs are called "phak", which is also used to indicate cultivated vegetables, and clearly distinguishes them from the inedible herbs referred to as "nya." Two methods are employed to gather wild edible herbs: some plants are uprooted as a way of thinning individuals, and other plants have only their young leaves picked so that they can be harvested repeatedly. Gathering and selling wild edible herbs was mainly conducted by women and children for whom it was a source of cash income. Thus, the relationships that exist between people and the wild plants they maintain as part of their farming activities can be considered an indicator of paddy field agrodiversity.
ISSN: 1874-9364

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