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The ethnobotany of Central Sekhukhuneland, South Africa

Mogale, M.M.P., Raimondo, D.C., VanWyk, B.-E.
South African journal of botany 2019 v.122 pp. 90-119
common names, ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, medicinal plants, photographs, traditional medicine, villages, South Africa
The ethnobotany of Sekhukhuneland and the plants used by rural Bapedi people for their everyday needs have not yet been systematically recorded. Available information is mostly focussed on medicinal plants that are used by traditional healers. The aim of this study was to accurately record extant indigenous knowledge on the most important useful plants within Central Sekhukhuneland. The study was conducted from 2015 to 2017 in three rural villages: Frisgewaght, Ga-Moretsele/Tsehlwaneng and Ga-Sekhele. A total of 27 participants of different age groups were interviewed using the matrix method and a flip-file of composite photographs of 152 local useful plants. Sixty-six species (44%) had food uses, 71 (46%) had medicinal uses and 62 (40%) had various craft uses. A total 185 use-records (107 medicinal, 21 food and 57 other) and 98 vernacular names were newly recorded at the time the study was completed. We used the Species Popularity Index (SPI) to quantify the relative importance of the species in the three communities, as well as the Ethnobotanical Knowledge Index (EKI) to assess the level of indigenous knowledge amongst the participants. The study revealed that a rich local culture of everyday plant uses that have not yet been systematically recorded.