Indigenous communities of the Thakht-e-Sulamian hills reside in the North-West tribal belt of Pakistan, where disadvantaged socio-economic frames, lack of agricultural land and food insecurity represent crucial problems to their survival. Several studies in diverse areas worldwide have pointed out the importance of wild food plants (WFPs) for assuring food sovereignty and food security, and therefore the current study was aimed at documenting traditional knowledge of WFPs and analyzing how this varies among generations.
Ethnobotanical data were collected during 2010-2012. In total of seventy-two informants were interviewed in ten villages via in-depth interviews and group discussions with key informants followed by freelisting. Data were analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics and novelty was checked by comparing the gathered data with the published literature.
A total of fifty-one WFP species belonging to twenty-eight families were documented. Rosaceae was the dominant family with the largest number of species and highest frequency of citation (FC). July was the peak month for availability of WFPs, and fruit was the most commonly consumed part. Among the most cited species, Olea ferrugenia was ranked first with a FC = 1, followed by Amaranthus spinosus (FC = 0.93). Of the documented species about 14 % (7) were marketable and 27 % (14) were reported for the first time to be used as WFP species in Pakistan.
WFPs still play an important role in the food and culture of the study area and the folk knowledge attached to them is remarkable in the region, although declining among the younger generations. The recorded species needs to be re-evaluated in local projects aimed at fostering endogenous strategies of food security, as well as re-evaluating cultural heritage and sustaining small-scale food market circuits.