ethnobotany, indigenous community, tribal people, north – coastal andhrapradesh, wild edible plants


Ethnobotany is the study of the interrelations of primitive man and plants (Faulks 1958). It also deals with studies among the tribal and rural people for recording their unique knowledge about plant wealth and for search of new resources of herbal drugs, edible plants and other aspects of plants. A scientific study of wild fruits is important for the potential sources which could be utilized at the time of scarcity or during normal days or cultivated as a source of food material for an ever increasing population (Rashid et al.2008). Fruits have satisfactory edible proteins with high quality so that we can use them in food industries and as nutrition.

Fruits are generally high in fiber, water, vitamin C and sugars. From ancient time edible wild fruits played a very vital part in supplementing the diet of the people. Although the use of wild fruits has recently decreased, many people in rural areas still use them extensively as a supplement to their basic food requirement, some are preserved for use during periods of scarcity, they are sometime sold in the urban market and are then in competition with exotic fruits.( Manyafu, J.L. 1971). Aborigines consume a main staple diet and it is supported with supplementary wild foods. These species are consumed by various communities depending on the local availability. Various preparations of plant species are prepared and sold in tribal markets.

Tribals and local communities have accurate knowledge of wild food resources due to their long association with nature. Jain and Sinha (1988) reported food resources from Indian aborigines. Nene (2004) reported 300 diverse plant species belonging to 90 families utilized as food resources during famine. Usually these wild species are not in cultivation. Tribal communities in Maharashtra depend upon agricultural food grains. It is insufficient to maintain their families. To make up for the shortage of food grains they have to depend on wild food plants to supplement their diet. Kulkarni and Kumbhojkar (1992) gathered information on unconventional wild fruits plants with appropriate methods from Mahadeokoli tribe of Western Maharashtra.

Study Area

Ethnobotanical survey was conducted ininterior tribal areas of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaramand Srikakulamdistricts of Andhra Pradesh state during 2013- 2014. The emphasis laid on the Northcoastal Andhra Pradesh is situated between 81˚51’and 84˚46′ E and 19˚9′ and 17˚14′ N. It falls under 23mandalsof Srikakulam, Vizianagaramand Visakhapatnam districts situated on the North – coastal region of Andhra Pradesh covering an area of 8734 Km 2 . The predominant tribal communities inhabiting the study area are Bagata, Konda Dora, Valmiki, KondaKammara, Mali, Kotia, Khond, Jatapu, Muka Dora, Gadaba, Porja, Khond and Savarasetc,. The fresh wild fruits collected by the women’s from surrounding forest. Tribal people using wild plant species for food, fodder, shelter and medicine for human and animal. Some of the underutilized wild edible food plants have great potential for adding nutrition to basic diet. Studies on nutritional value of wild edible plant species are significantly considered. It may help to identify ancestral knowledge of food resources. Some of the underutilized wild edible food plants have great potential in proximate chemicals like Protein, Carbohydrates, Vitamins and Minerals. Few of wild food resources are available in abundance during particular season. Proper preservation and processing methods need to be standardized on low cost, user friendly preservation and scientific processing techniques for year round availability for consumption.


Several field trips were undertaken throughout the district at different seasons and collect more information. To assess the traditional knowledge on wild edible fruits, frequent interactions and discussions were made with the local villagers, which included farmers, herdsmen, shepherds, housewives and children The indigenous knowledge received from them was noted in special field books. Live specimens and available photographs were shown to them for local identification. The fruits were preserved and identified with the help of available literature. (Hooker 1872 – 1877; Cooke 1967 (Rpr.) Singh and Karthikeyan 2000, Singh et al. 2001, Yadav and Sardesai (2002).Further confirmation from department of botany, Andhra University.The information about the wild edible fruits given by mentioning there botanical name, family, common name, flowering and fruiting, and their uses. The collected fruits are then dried and preserved for further biochemical analysis. Photographs of some important specimens are taken for further details. Plants were identified using relevant scientific literature.

Table 1

Ethnomedicinal plants used wild Edible in North coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Botanical name Local name Family Habitat Used as
Ablemoscusmoschatus Medic Kasturibenda Malvaceae shrub Tender leaves shoots edible
Acacia nilotica (L.)Del., Nallatumma Mimosaceae Tree Cooked as vegetable
Amaranthusspinosus L. Mullathotakura Amaranthaceae Herb Cooked as vegetable
Annona reticulate L. Ramaphalamu Annonaceae Small tree Fruit is edible
Annonasquamosa L. Sitaphalamu Annonaceae Small tree Fruit is edible
Artocarpusheterophyllus Lam. Panasa Moraceae Tree Used as vegetable
BambusaarundinaceaWilld. Bonguveduru Poaceae Woody grass Grains are eaten
Bauhinia purpurea Linn. Devakanchanam Caesalpiniaceae Tree Leaves and young shoots are used as vegetable
Bauhinia vahliiWight and Ain Addaku Caesalpiniaceae Woody climber Boiled seeds are edible
Benincasahispida (Thunb) Budidagummadi Cucurbitaceae Climbing herb Seeds are edible
Borassusflabellifer Linn Tatichettu Arecaceae Tree Seeds, tenders shoot fruits are edible
Capsicum annuum L. Mirapakaya Solanaceae Herb Used in curries
Carica papaya Linn Boppayi Caricaceae Small tree Fruits are edible
Centellaasiatica(L) Saraswahiaku Umbelliferae Creeping herb Leaves are edible
Colocasiaesculenta (L) Schoot. Chemadumpa Araceae Herb Tubers are edible
CordiadichotomaForst. Bankiriki Boraginaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Dioscoreaanguina L. Rasa teega Dioscoreaceae Vine Tubers are edible
Dioscoreapentaphylla L. Duke pendalam Dioscoreaceae Vine Tubers are edible
DioscoreatomentosaHeyne. Pindidumpa Dioscoreaceae Vine Tubers are edible
DiospyrousebunumJ.Koeng Tuki Ebenaceae Tree Fruits are edible
DiospyrousexsculptaBuch Chillitumuk Ebenaceae Tree Fruits are edible
DiospyroussylvaticaRoxb Gadaluti Ebenaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Drypetessepiaria(Wight and Arn) Beera Euphorbiaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Eleusinecoracana (L.) Gaertn Ragulu Poaceae Grass Grain are edible
EmblikaofficinalisGaertn. Kondausiri Euphorbiaceae Tree Fruits are edible
FicusauriculataLour. Rachabodda Moraceae Tree Fruits are edible
FicuspalmataForsk. Manchimedi` Moraceae Shrub Fruits are edible
Flacourtiaindica (Burm.f.)Merr. Kanregu Flacourtiaceae Shrub Fruits are edible
Flacourtiaromanchi L Pulivelaga Flacourtiaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Garciniaspictata (Wt and Arn) Pidutha Clusiaceae Tree Fruits are edible
GarugapinnataRoxb. Pedhachettu Burseraceae Tree Fruits are edible
Glycosmispentaphylla (Retz.) Kukkavaminta Rutaceae Shrub Fruits are edible
GrewiaflaviscensJuss. Bankajana Tiliaceae Tree Fruits are edible
GrewiahirsutaVahl Jibilika Tiliaceae Tree Fruits are edible
GrewiatiliaefoliaVahl. Thada Tiliaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Grewiavillosa.Willd Pothadi Tiliaceae Shrub Fruits are edible
Holostemmaada-kodianSchult. Palagurugu Asclepiadaceae Shrub Leaves, flowers and fruits are edible
HomoniaripariaLour. Taninki Euphorbiaceae Shrub Tender leaf tops are edible
Impatiens balsamina L. Neetigorinta Balsaminaceae Herb Seeds are edible
IndigoferacassiodiesRottl. Siralli Fabaceae Shrub Flowers are edible
Ipomea aquatic Forsk Thutikua Convolvulaceae Herb Young terminal shoots and Leaves are edible
Jatrophamultifida L. Paala Euphorbiaceae Shrub Tuberous roots are edible
Lablab purpureus (L.) Chikkudu Fabaceae Herb Green pods and seeds are edible
Lagenariasiceraria (Molina) Anapakaya Cucurbitaceae Climbing herb Seeds are edible
Leeaindica (Burm.f.) Anakadosa Leeaceae Shrub Fresh shoots are edible
Leucaenaleucocephala (Lamk.) Thumma Mimosaceae Tree Young fruits and seed are edible
Limoniaacidissima L. Velaga Rutaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Luffaacutangula (L.) Beera Cucurbitaceae Climber Young tender fruit are edible s
Lycoperosiconesculentum Mill. Tomato Solanaceae Herb Fruits are edible
MadhukaindicaJ.F.Gmel Ippachettu Sapotaceae Tree Flowers are edible
Marseliaminuta (L) Chadamamakura Marseliaceae Creeper Stalks and leaves are edible
Mirabilis jalapa Linn. Chandra kanth Nictaginaceae Herb Leaves and Stems are edible
NelumbonuciferaGaertn. Kamalam Nelumbonaceae Herb Rhizomes, seeds and young leaves are edible
Opuntiadillenii Auct.Pl Nagajemudu Cactaceae Shrub Fruits and Stem are edible
Oxalis corniculata L. Pulichintaku Oxalidaceae Herb Leaves are edible
PavoniaorodataWilld. Chittibenda Malvaceae Shrub Fruits and Flowers are edible
Phoenix sylvestris (L.)Roxb. Eeta Aricaceae Palm Fruits are edible
Psidiumgaujava L. Jama Myrtaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Puerariatuberosa DC Dharigummadi Fabaceae Climbing shrub Tuberous roots
RiveahypocrateriformisDesr. Bodditeega Convolvulaceae Twining shrub Leaves and young shoots are edible
Sagittariasagittifolia L. Neetimokka Alismataceae Herb Tubers are edible
SecurinegaleucopyrusWilld. Tellapurugudu Eupehorbiaceae Shrub Fruits are edible
Sesbaniagrandiflora (L.) Poir. Avisachettu Fabaceae Small tree Fruits and ender leaves are edible
Solanumnigram L. Kamanchi Solanaceae Herb Ripen fruits are edible
Spondiaspinnata (L.f.) Prelim Adavimamidi Anacardiaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Steruliafoetida.L. Gurrapubadam Sterculiaceae Tree Seeds are edible
Syzygiumjambos (Linn.) Jambunerudu Myrtaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Talinumportulacifolium Ceylon Bachli Portulacaceae Herb Leaves and stems are edible
(Forsk)Asch and schweinf
Tamarindusindica L.Sp.Pl Chinta Caesalpiniaceae Tree Fruit pulp are edible
Themedatriandra (Forssk) Grass Poaceae Tufted grass Grains are edible
Treticumaestivum L. Goduma Poaceae Tufted grass Grains are edible
Trewianudiflora L. Eruponak Euphorbiaceae Small tree Fruits are edible
TyphaangustataBory and Chaub. Jammugaddi Araceae Herb Shoots and inflorescence are edible
Typhoniumtrilobatum L. Duradakandagadda Araceae Herb Tubers are edible
Wattakakavolubilis (L.f) Stap.f Dudipala Asclepiadaceae Woody twiner Leaves, flowers and unripen fruites are edible
Wrightiaarborea (Dennst.) Kondaanukudu Apocynaceae Tree Tender leaves and fruites are edible
Xanthium strumarium Linn. Marulamathingi Asteraceae Shrub Seed oil is edible
Ximenia Americana Linn, Kondanakkera Olacaeae Tree Fruits are edible
Ziziphushorrida Roth. Regu Rhamnaceae Tree Fruits are edible
Ziziphusoenoplia (L.) Parimi Rhamnaceae Shrub Fruits are edible

Results and Discussion

The history of indigenous knowledge as an old as the human race. This knowledge has always been very important for the people who generate it. It is a matter of survival for them. Many scientists, researchers and environmentalists all over the world are now striving to explore, document and use the resource base knowledge for the welfare of the wider human race. Documentation of traditional knowledge related to plant resources is known as ethnobotany. Analysis of information presented in (Table 1) indicates that North coastal Districts of Andhra pradesh, possesses rich knowledge about the plant resources around them. A total of 80 angiosperm plant taxa belonging to 68 genera of 43 families have been identified and recorded for ethnobotanical uses. Out of the 43 families Euphorbiaceae 6, Fabaceae 4, Poaceae 4, Tiliaceae 4, Moraceae 3, Ceasalpiniaceae 3, Cucurbitaceae 3, Arecaceae 3, Solanaceae 3, Diascoriaceae 3, Araceae 3, Ebenaceae 3, Malvaceae 2, Mimosaceae 2, Annonaceae 2, and Flacourtiaceae 2. Out of the total 80 flowering species, among them 33 were trees, 17 shrubs, 5 climbers, herbs 18, Crass 4, and vines 3. The study showed that trees were dominating the forest. The edible parts are consumed in many different ways. Some of them need only the washing of the part of the plant and some others imply a more or less complex preparation process. Nearly 47% of plants with edible leaves, roots or fruits are eaten after cooking. On the other hand, many edible fruits are directly consumed. The immense richness of botanical resources with statistics worldwide showed that only a very small fraction of plant resources has yet been utilized by the human race. Even whatever little is known, is mainly about some of the high er plants (Schultes 1963). India is recognized as one of the four major mega biodiversity of Asia. Majority of its forests are in Himalayan region, which although covers only 18% of the geographical area of the country, but accounts for more than 50% of India’s forest cover and 40% of species endemism. The climatic, topographic and soil diversity of this region has resulted into the occurrence of several valuable and economically important plants. In India more than 3000 wild plants are used as subsidiary food and vegetables by various communities (Anonymous 1994).


The retention of knowledge by both young and aged people on the uses of the wild edible fruits attests to the continuing importance of these natural resources for subsistence and as a part of the cultural heritage of the Khasis. In general, people of this region are well versed in the folk names of ethno botanical plants. Evaluation of the nature and the potential of these plants should proceed from a broad perspective. First, all ethno botanical and indigenous plants of this area require greater evaluation of nutritional, pharmacological, and toxicological properties. Interpretation of scientific data must be done in the context of the nutritional and subsistence needs of Khasis. Further research needs to be focused on the basic biology of the plants. Much remains to be understood of their systematic, reproductive biology, ecology and biogeography. Investigations are needed into productivity, harvest ability and regeneration status of wild edible plant species. Surely it makes no sense to advocate exploitation that leads to destruction and elimination of the plants. sense to advocate exploitation that leads to destruction and elimination of the plants.


The authors are thankful to the local healers and forest officials who shared their views for their valuable information on Ethnomedicine in the study area. We are also thankful to the authorities of various herbaria and museums for their help and cooperation extended in several ways.