Utility of Wild Food Plants by Indigenous Tribes from Telangana State, India-An Ethnobotanical Perspective

Sateesh Suthari1*, E. Sandhya Priyadarshini2, Kiran Esampally3 and Sreeramulu Nallella4

1Department of Botany, Vaagdevi Degree and PG College, Hanamkonda, Warangal-506009, Telangana, India

2Department of Botany, Kakatiya University, Warangal-506009, Telangana, India

3Department of Botany, Telangana University, Nizamabad-503322, Telangana, India

4Department of Botany, Kakatiya Mahila Degree and PG College, Hanamkonda-506001, Telangana, India

*Corresponding Author:
Dr.Sateesh Suthari
Department of Botany, Vaagdevi Degree and PG College, Hanamkonda, Warangal-506009, Telangana, India
Tel: 9441712719
Email: [email protected]

Received Date: March 25, 2021 Accepted Date: April 08, 2021 Published Date: April 15,
2021

Citation: Suthari S, Priyadarshini ES, Esampally K, Nallella S (2021) Utility of Wild Food Plants by Indigenous Tribes from Telangana State, India: An Ethnobotanical Perspective. Am J Ethnomed Vol. 8 No.4:3.

 
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Abstract

An ethnobotanical study was conducted for wild food plants among twenty ethnic groups of Telangana State during 2015-2019. A total of 89 plant taxa belonging to 76 genera and 46 families were recorded and the consumption of wild food plants is still very important for many tribes in the region in a multitude of ways such as vegetables, fruits, pickles, snacks, beverages, etc. Some wild food plants like Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia, Diospyros melanoxylon, Phyllanthus emblica have great economic importance and linked with the socio-economic empowerment of tribal communities in the State. The present study emphasizes the importance of wild food plants for ethnic tribes on one hand, and helpful to understand the conservation strategy and economics of wild food plants dealing with the collection and sale, on the other.

Keywords

Wild plants; Nutrition; Food security; Ethnic communities; Subsistence; Edible

Introduction

In forest ecosystem, the wild food plants play a vital role in the survival of wild animals and subsistence for human being especially during dry season and drought conditions. Wild food plants are wild plants with one or more parts that can be used for food of gathered at the appropriate time of growth and properly prepared. Man has learnt many things by the process of trial and error method and has the ability to select edible and poisonous plant parts by this method. More than 250 million indigenous people rely on traditional mode of collection of wild food plants for their subsistence and more than 100 million people in South Asia alone who use the traditional methods of gathering, fishing, herding and farming to support the bare necessities of living. One study estimated that about one billion people consume wild food daily for their diet throughout the world [1]. Ethnobotanical studies suggested that more than 7000 species of wild edible plants have been used for food [2]. The important prerequisite for proper utilization of raw materials of the country is the survey of its natural resources, enlisting the users, and the preparation of an inventory. Conventional food plants are not enough to fulfil the requirements of food and therefore extensive work is being done on emergency food plants throughout the world [3]. The consumption of wild food plants concept is age old process in India which was cited in many ancient scriptures like Kautilya’s Arthashastra. India is one of the 12 mega diversity nations with 8% of the global biodiversity residing in only 2.4% geographical area of the world [4]. One study has estimated that more than 3900 wild food plants and vegetables are underutilization by different tribal communities in India, of these, 1532 species from Western Ghats and Himalayan region [5]. In India, most of the ethnic tribes are living in the hamlets or villages proximate to the forests. They depend upon forests for their daily minimum needs. They do collect wild food plants along with other non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for their survival and economic subsistence. Kulkarni and Kumbhojkar [6] documented wild fruit plant resources utilized by Mahadeoko tribes of western Maharashtra while Nene [7] enlisted 300 food plant resources utilized during famine. A study from Andhra Pradesh reported 156 plant species as wild plants used for food purposes by ethnic communities [8] where another study recorded 80 species from north-coastal Andhra Pradesh [9]. The plant products obtained in the wild or modified form include fruits, tubers, vegetables, gums, resins, honey, bee-wax, etc. These food plants have considerable amount of carbohydrates, high energy and protein supplement. The main aim of the present study is to identify, documentation, mode of use and socio-economic aspects of plant resources available in Telangana State, India.

Methodology

Extensive field trips were conducted to collect the information about the wild food plants from the indigenous tribes covering all seasons of the year. These repeated tours helped to collect the data on wild food plants and ethnobotanical plant material from flower to seed, underground parts, etc. from a wide range of habitats in the study area. The seeds, barks and underground parts of the species were collected for proper identification and deposited in the museum. The data was documented for food plant species which are wild when they are used by the tribes of Telangana districts for their nutrition and or economic subsistence. The data were gathered usually from elderly people, farmers, shepherds, mid-wives, homemakers and family/village heads. The interviews and discussions were carried out by the pre-meditated or semi-structured questionnaires, or simply noted in the field note book. The plant specimens were identified with the help of standard floras [10], e-floras, revisions, etc. The nomenclature of the species was updated following www.theplantlist.org and International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants [11].

Study area

Telangana was formed on 2nd June, 2014 as the 29th state and it is the 12th largest state in Union of India. It spreads over an area of 1,12,077 sq. km which is 3.4% of total geographical area of the country. It has a population of 35.19 million accounting of 2.91% of total population of India [12]. It lies in between 15°48′32″ to 19°55′46″N latitudes and 77°09′02″ to 81°18′ 51″E longitudes. It is bounded on the north and north-west by Maharashtra, west by Karnataka, north-east by Chattisgarh, east by Odisha and south by Andhra Pradesh. The government has reorganized the then ten districts into 31 in 2016 and 2 districts in 2019 (Figure 1). The state is predominantly drained by two major rivers, Godavari and Krishna, and has subtropical climate.
The state is very warm and dry during the summer (March-May) and the annual average temperature ranges from 15°C to 45°C. Sometimes, the temperature rises up to 50°C in coal belt areas Godavarikhani, Ramagundam, Kothagudem, Sathupalli, Manuguru and Bhupalpally. In December and January, in some areas, the temperature drops up to 4°C during nights and is very cold [13].

study

Figure 1: The study location: (a) India, (b) Telangana state.

Ethnic people of Telangana

There are about 20 scheduled tribes, inhabiting both the hilly and plain regions of Telangana State. Of these, eleven ethnic tribal groups of central India are found in Telangana, which are Koyas, Gonds, Kolams, Naikpods, Konda Reddis, Pardhans, Thotis, Andhs, Mannewars, Bhils and Gowaris. The Yerukulas and Lambadis are largely found in the plains. There are Chenchus of Nallamalais settled in Nallamalai forest region of Mahabubnagar and some pockets of Warangal district (Regonda mandal), Vikarabad forest region (Ranga Reddy district) and Nalgonda district on the bank of Krishna River. In Telangana, the total schedule tribe population is 31.78 lakh and accounts for 9.03% of total population of the State. Most of the ethnic tribes (ca. 53%) were inhabited in the erstwhile districts such as Khammam (20.68%), Warangal (16.7%) and Adilabad (15.6%). The predominant tribes in the State are Lambadis (20.46%), Koyas (4.86%), Gonds (2.98%) and Yerukalas (1.44%). Nakkala and Dhulia communities were recognized as tribes in 2002-2003 and they distributed sporadically in the state. The State government has announced in 2017 that the communities such as Boyas and Mathura Lambadis can also be considered under scheduled tribes. Most of the tribal people were settled in 10 districts, namely, Adilabad, Komuram Bheem-Asifabad, Mancherial, Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Mulugu, Warangal Rural, Mahabubabad, Bhadradri Kothagudem, Khammam and Nagar Kurnool [14]. Raj Koyas and Gothi Koyas are migrants from the neighbouring Chattisagarh state and are rehabilitated in some hamlets of Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Mulugu and Bhadradri Kothagudem districts. These migrated tribes have started occupying the forest lands and made their settlement by clearing forest lands and practicing farming.

 Forest area

Telangana state has a forest cover of 20,419 sq km which is 18.22% of its geographical area. The erstwhile districts in Telangana with good forest cover are Adilabad (5,688 sq km), Khammam (4,433 sq km) and Warangal (2,918 sq km), and occupy about 64% while the northern Telangana region occupies 79.2% of the total forest cover of the State [12]. The forests in northern Telangana are largely of tropical dry deciduous type, with teak dominating and forming pure stands in Adilabad district which extend to south and southeastern part where it forms Tectona-Terminalia transition zone and then Terminalia-Hardwickia association, further to Madhuca-Terminalia-Cleistanthus zone along the river Godavari towards the east [15-17]. The State consists a good number of wildlife sanctuaries for on-site conservation of wildlife as well plant wealth, namely, Kawal (893 sq km), Pranahita (136), Sivaram (38.66), Eturnagaram (803), Pakhal (860), Kinnerasani (635.41), Pocharam (129.85), Manjeera (20), and shares two sanctuaries Papikondalu (591 sq km) and NSTR (Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve; 3568 sq km) with adjoining state Andhra Pradesh.

Results

The present study is first of its kind in Telangana State and gathered information from local inhabitants on wild food plants. The study is resulted 89 plant species under 76 genera of 46 families and arranged in alphabetical order (Table 1). Table 1 provides local name, botanical name, family, life-form, useful part and mode of usage. Plant parts like roots, tubers, rhizomes, young shoots, tender leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, kernels, pulp of some parts, etc. are used to collect for food from wild by the local inhabitants for their survival and sometimes for commerce in Telangana.

The study reports that Amaranthaceae is predominated with 9 species under 8 genera, followed by Fabaceae (7/6), Anacardiaceae, Arecaceae, Dioscoreaceae and Malvaceae with 4 species of each, Apocynaceae, Poaceae and Rubiaceae with 3 plant taxa of each, respectively. About 26 families are represented with single species each, namely, Aizoaceae, Annonaceae, Apiaceae, Aponogetonaceae, Burseraceae, Cornaceae, Costaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Dilleniaceae, Erythroxylaceae, Hypoxidaceae, Lamiaceae, Lecythidaceae, Melanostomaceae, Moraceae, Moringaceae, Myrtaceae, Nelumbonaceae, Olacaceae, Oleaceae, Oxalidaceae, laceae (Table 1).

Sl no. Vernacular name Scientific name Family Life-form Useful part Mode of use
1 Uttareni Achyranthes aspera L. Amaranthaceae Herb Tender leaf Vegetable
2 Maredu Aegle marmelos (L.) Corrêa Rutaceae Tree Fruit Edible
3 Konda pindi Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. Amaranthaceae Herb Tender leaf Vegetable
4 Ooduga Alangium salviifolium (L.f.) Wangerin Cornaceae Tree Fruit Edible
5 Nagali kura Allmania nodiflora (L.) R.Br. ex Wight Amaranthaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable
6 Ponnaganti kura Alternanthera sessilis (L.) R.Br. ex DC. Amaranthaceae Herb Tender leaf Vegetable
7 Totakura Amaranthus tricolor L. Amaranthaceae Herb Leaves Vegetable
8 Thota kura Amaranthus viridis L. Amaranthaceae Herb Leaf; tender shoot Vegetable
9 Kanda Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson Araceae Herb Tuber Vegetable
10 Jeedi mamidi Anacardium occidentale L. Anacardiaceae Tree Kernel Edible
11 Shethaphalam Annona squamosa L. Annonaceae Tree Fruit Edible
12 Kodi dumpa Aponogeton natans (L.) Engl. & K.Krause Aponogetonaceae Herb Tuber (roasted) Edible
13 Tella uppi Azima tetracantha Lam. Salvadoraceae Shrub Fruit Edible
14 Gara Balanites roxburghii Planch. Zygophyllaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
15 Veduru Bambusa bambos (L.) Voss Poaceae Shrub Young shoot Edible
16 Neeroddi Barringtonia acutangula (L.) Gaertn. Lecythidaceae Tree Tender leaf Vegetable
17 Bodenta kura Bauhinia purpurea L. Fabaceae Tree Unripe fruit Vegetable
18 Addaku Bauhinia vahlii Wight & Arn. Fabaceae Climber Seed (roasted) Edible
19 Thadi Borassus flabellifer L. Arecaceae Tree Seed pulp Edible
20 Pedda morri Buchanania axillaris (Desr.) Ramam. Anacardiaceae Tree Kernel Edible
21 Chinna morli Buchanania cochinchinensis (Lour.) M.R.Almeida Anacardiaceae Tree Kernel Edible
22 Chapateega barige Calamus rotang L. Arecaceae Climber Fruit Edible
23 Balusu Canthium coromandelicum (Burm.f.) Alston Rubiaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
24 Nalla uppi Capparis sepiaria L. Capparaceae Shrub Ripe fruit Edible
25 Aadonda Capparis zeylanica L. Capparaceae Shrub Fruit Vegetable
26 Kundetikommulu Caralluma adscendens (Roxb.) R.Br. Apocynaceae Herb Tender stem Vegetable/
            Pickle
27 Pedda kalimi Carissa carandas L. Apocynaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
28 Kalimi Carissa spinarum L. Apocynaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
29 Giraka thati Caryota urens L. Arecaceae Tree Stem pith Edible
30 Rela Cassia fistula L. Fabaceae Tree Flower Vegetable/
            Pickle
31 Gunugu Celosia argentea L. Amaranthaceae Herb Tender leaf Vegetable
32 Saraswati aku Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Apiaceae Herb Leaf Edible
33 Pedda bikki Ceriscoides turgida (Roxb.) Tirveng. Rubiaceae Tree Fruit Edible
34 Chengalva gadda Cheilocostus speciosus (J.Koenig) C.D.Specht Costaceae Herb Rhizome Pickle
35 Chakrabanthi Chenopodium album L. Amaranthaceae Herb Leaves Vegetable
36 Tella nelathadi Chlorophytum arundinaceum Baker Asparagaceae Herb Flower Pickle
37 Musli Chlorophytum tuberosum (Roxb.) Baker Asparagaceae Herb Flower Pickle
38 Nalleru Cissus quadrangularis L. Vitaceae Climber Young shoot Pickle
39 Pusa golibi Coix lacryma-jobi L. Poaceae Herb Fruit (caryopsis) Edible
40 Chama gadda Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott Araceae Herb Rhizome Vegetable
41 Perinta kura Corchorus trilocularis L. Malvaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable
42 Iriki Cordia dichotoma G.Forst. Boraginaceae Tree Fruit Edible
43 Nelathati Curculigo orchioides Gaertn. Hypoxidaceae Herb Rhizome Edible
44 Bongu Dendrocalamus strictus (Roxb.) Nees Poaceae Shrub Tender rhizome Vegetable
45 Chenchali kura Digera muricata (L.) Mart. Amaranthaceae Herb Tender leaf Vegetable
46 Kalinga Dillenia pentagyna Roxb. Dilleniaceae Tree Fruit Edible
47 Bellam gadda Dioscorea alata L. Dioscoreaceae Climber Tuber Vegetable
48 Chenna gadda Dioscorea bulbifera L. Dioscoreaceae Climber Tuber Vegetable
49 Govinda gadda Dioscorea pentaphylla L. Dioscoreaceae Climber Tuber Vegetable
50 Illanda Diospyros chloroxylon Roxb. Ebenaceae Tree Fruit Edible
51 Tuniki Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb. Ebenaceae Tree Fruit Edible
52 Paldattam Ehretia laevis Roxb. Boraginaceae Tree Fruit Edible
53 Devadaru Erythroxylum monogynum Roxb. Erythroxylaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
54 Medi Ficus racemosa L. Moraceae Tree Fruit Edible
55 Garugu Garuga pinnata Roxb. Burseraceae Tree Fruit Edible
56 Jana Grewia damine Gaertn. Malvaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
57 Banka jana Grewia flavescens Juss. Malvaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
58 Jibilika Grewia hirsuta Vahl Malvaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
59 Thutikura Ipomoea aquatica Forssk. Convolvulaceae Creeeper Leaf Vegetable
60 Thummi Leucas aspera (Willd.) Link Lamiaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable
61 Velaga Limonia acidissima Groff Rutaceae Tree Fruit Edible
62 Ippa Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia (Roxb.) A.Chev. Sapotaceae Tree Corolla, Fruit Edible
63 Adavi mamidi Mangifera indica L. Anacardiaceae Tree Fruit Edible
64 Pala Manilkara hexandra (Roxb.) Dubard Sapotaceae Tree Fruit Edible
65 Alli Memecylon edule Roxb. Melanostomaceae Tree Tender leaf Vegetable
66 Boda kakara Momordica dioica Roxb. ex Willd. Cucurbitaceae Climber Unripe fruit Vegetable
67 Munaga Moringa concanensis Nimmo Moringaceae Tree Fruit Edible
68 Thamara Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. Nelumbonaceae Herb Rhizome Vegetable
69 Pulichinta Oxalis corniculata L. Oxalidaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable
70 Chitti eatha Phoenix loureiroi Kunth Arecaceae Shrub Fruit Edible
71 Usiri Phyllanthus emblica L. Phyllanthaceae Tree Fruit Edible
72 Buddakase chettu Physalis angulata L. Solanaceae Herb Fruit Edible
73 Shivachinta Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. Fabaceae Tree Fruit Edible
74 Paayili kura Portulaca oleracea L. Portulacaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable
75 Sannapayili Portulaca quadrifida L. Portulacaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable
76 Magasiri gadda Pueraria tuberosa (Willd.) DC. Fabaceae Climber Tuber Vegetable
77 Boddi kura Rivea hypocrateriformis Choisy Convolvulaceae Climber Leaf Vegetable
78 Pusugu Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Merr. Sapindaceae Tree Fruit Edible
79 Bullakaya Schrebera swietenioides Roxb. Oleaceae Tree Fruit Edible
80 Chennangi Senna occidentalis (L.) Link Fabaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable/
            Pickle
81 Kamanchi Solanum americanum Mill. Solanaceae Herb Fruit Edible
82 Allaneredu Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels Myrtaceae Tree Fruit Edible
83 Muvva kanda Tacca leontopetaloides (L.) Kuntze Dioscoreaceae Herb Tuber Vegetable
84 Kukkelaga Tamilnadia uliginosa (Retz.) Tirveng. and Sastre Rubiaceae Tree Fruit Edible
86 Nakkera Ximenia americana (L.) Olacaceae Tree Fruit pulp Edible
87 Bojja Xylia xylocarpa (Roxb.) Taub. Fabaceae Tree Seed (roasted) Edible
85 Tella galijeru Zaleya decandra (L.) Burm.f. Aizoaceae Herb Leaf Vegetable
88 Regu Ziziphus jujuba Mill. Rhamnaceae Tree Fruit Edible
89 Pariki Ziziphus oenopolia (L.) Mill. Rhamnaceae Climber Fruit Edible

Table 1: Wild food plants used by ethnic communities of Telangana State and their scientific name, family, life-form, useful part and mode of use.

Based on the collection of plant parts, the present study data is analyzed under 3 broad categories. They are:

(a) Underground parts

This category includes roots, tubers and rhizomes of which can store high starch reserves and provides a great nutritive value to the ethnic people in remote areas. The wild boars are the major competitors to the tribes because these wild animals mostly survive on the underground parts for their survival. This group comprises 12 plant species as food resources which are consumed wither boiled or roasted form, some of the prominent collections are Amorphophalus paeoniifolius, Colocasia esculenta, Dioscorea alata, D. bulbifera, etc.

(b) Leaves and shoots

Leaves, shoots and flowers play a vital role and have great importance in the diet of ethnic communities in the State. Primarily, these aerial parts are collected from the nearest forest regions for their daily use as leafy vegetable or sometimes make them as pickles. These parts are highly nutritive and rich source of vitamins and minerals. They can also usually add local chilli (Capsicum annuum L. of Solanceae) and pinch of salt along with other ingredients for taste or flavour. A total of 25 plant taxa were recorded under this category as source of food by the ethnic communities of Telangana State. The major sources include in this section are Aerva lanata, Amaranthus viridis, Ipomoea aquatica, Leucas aspera, Rivea hypocrateriformis, Senna occidentalis, etc.

 (c) Flower, fruits and seeds

In the study area, flowers, fruits and fruit related parts (kernel, caryopsis, seed, pulp) are the major contributors with 52 species as food resources and used in a wide variety of ways. Many fruits are edible, some are used as vegetable and few can provide economic subsistence to the tribal communities. E.g. Diospyros melanoxylon, Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia, etc. The fruit part seeds have little importance in their diet and they used in minimum quantity either in pulp (Borassus flabellifer) or roasted (Bauhinia vahlii, Xylia xylocapra) form. The tribes used to store the seeds and corolla of Madhuca to consume them in unfavorable conditions.

Of these, trees are predominated with 34 species, immediately followed by herbs (30), shrubs (14), climbers (10) and creeper with single species only (Figure 2). Most of edible parts are fruits represented with 51 species, followed by vegetables (31), pickle 4 and vegetable/pickle 3. The ethnic communities mainly depend on fruits (57.3%) and leaves as vegetables (34.8%) for their diet (Figures 3 and 4).

Number

Figure 2: Number of species of life-form category of food plants in wild.

Mode

Figure 3: Mode of utility pattern of wild food plants by ethnic tribes of Telangana.

ethnobotanically

Figure 4: Few ethnobotanically used wild food plants from Telangana. (A) Conventional dyring process of corolla of mahua, (B) Koya tribe is showing mahua kernels while interviewing, (C) Ripe fruits of tendu; (D) Phyllanthus emblica fruits, (E) Fruits of Buchanania (inset: tribal woman is showing collected fruits), (F) Tribal women are selling jelly seeds of toddy palm and ripe fruits of tendu, (G-I) Tapping of toddy from Caryota and Borassus palms.

Beverages

These are the drinks prepared by local tribes for intoxication or strength during festivals or massive programmes. They use plant resources for the preparation by fermenting or brewing. The noted local drinks are “ippa sara” (traditional mahua wine) prepared and used by Koyas and Gonds out of the fleshy corollas of Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia (ippa/mahua). It is not only an alcoholic refreshing drink but also an integral part of the cultural, social and religious life of them in the State. Besides, the toddy which is also obtained from the sap of Arecaceae members such as Borassus flabellifer L., Phoenix sylvestris (L.) Roxb. and Caryota urens L. The fresh juice is not intoxicating; the fermented juice one is often used. It is usually obtained from the wild or running wild palm trees or planted trees in the case of Borassus and Phoenix. Caryota is wild in the forests of erstwhile Warangal and Khammam districts. The tribals prefer this toddy over the available alcoholic liquors. It is documented that the income from a tree of Caryota urens is more than one lakh per year.

Menace of monkeys in villages and along roadsides in forest areas

Most of animals like monkeys and bears enter villages and even towns in search of food for their survival due to the depletion of wild food plants in the forest areas. The unavailability of fruit bearing plant species effects the survival of wild animals in the forest regions so that the wildlife enters the habitations of human population for sustenance. To avoid this, the government of Telangana has launched a programme called, ‘Telangana ku Haritha Haram’ on 5th June 2015. The mission of this programme is to improve the forest cover up to 33% by planting 230 crore saplings in four years, i.e. 2015-2019. The main motto of the programme is that by planting saplings, the state would receive sufficient, stable rains and in turn would make monkeys or wildlife goes back to their natural habitats (forest regions). If the diversity of plants disappears, thus results will be disastrous.

Discussion and Conclusion

Based on field trips and gathered data from tribal communities in Telangana, the outcome of the study is very interesting and productive that most of the ethnic tribes used wild food plants for their daily consumption, and some forest products of Madhuca longiflia var. latifolia, Phyllathus emblica, Diospyros melanoxylon, etc. are for their economic subsistence besides their personal use. The tribes usually get commerce by selling collected wood food plant parts in the nearby weekly markets from the fruits of Diospyros, Buchanania, Madhuca, Phyllanthus, Ziziphus, jelly seeds of Borassus and tubers of Colocasia. Based on the edible plant part, the wild food plants were classified into 6 broad categories, namely, edible underground parts, greens, flowers, fruits, seeds and other edible kinds (bark, etc.) .There is immediate need to conserve the natural resources along with traditional knowledge on one hand and it is very important to control the indigenous plant species from exotic plant taxa such as Chromolaena odorata, Hyptis suaveolens, Parthenium hysterophorus, Lantana camara, Cyanthillium cinereum, Ageratum conyzoides, etc. The indigenous people do not prefer modern food habits for their day-to-day life due to the food habits may alter their life style and they thought that the modern food habits can cause various health disorders also. Due to the lack of sufficient farming land, water facilities and other resources, the tribal people engaged in the collection of wild food plants and non-timber forest produce from the surrounding forest areas in season, store them properly for other seasons and some of the collected products sell to adjacent GCC (Girijan Co-operative Corporation) regional centers or private traders. It is observed that the collection of wild food plants from deeper areas of the forests was engaged mainly by women in Telangana. Advanced tribes who live far from forests like Yerukalas, Lambadis are no longer used wild food plants and they are habitualized to modern food styles. The present study on wild food plants is highly useful for further confirmation and exploration studies in nutritive values and food security.

Acknowledgements

The help and plant based food knowledge received from the tribal groups of Telangana is highly acknowledged. The author is obliged to the Management, Principal and the Head, Department of Botany, Vaagdevi Degree & PG College, Hanamkonda, for support and encouragement.

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