In tropical Africa, leafy vegetables traditionally cooked and eaten as a relish together with starchy staple foods have undocumented long tradition in different culture. To identify and transfer this valuable heritage to the new generation, an ethnobotanical study was carried out to investigate and document the consumption and utilization level of indigenous leafy vegetables in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Information on the availability and the consumption of the leafy vegetables obtained from respondents from across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state through semi-structured questionnaire were documented. Assessment of the Socio-economic characteristics of the respondents revealed that women (56.25%) were more than men (43.75%). The respondents were more illiterate (66.67%) than literate (33.33%). A total of 25 plant species belonging to 13 families were identified as being used as leafy vegetables for food and medicine, with variation in the level of their utilization in the study area. The succulent leaves and stems were the parts mostly used as food and medicine. The mostly consumed of these vegetables were Corchorus olitorius – consumed by 85.42% of the respondents, Amaranthus cruentus (83.33%) Talinum triangulare (81.25%) and Ocimum basilicum (78.54%). However, the least consumed vegetable was Myrianthus arboreus (8.33%) which was also found to be the most underutilized. Ekiti state is blessed with great diversity of leafy vegetables which are consumed differently for nutritional and medicinal purposes. However, proper orientation on the need to increase the consumption level and cultivation of some of these leafy vegetables by the people of the state is necessary.
Keywords: Consumption, Ethnobotanical survey, Nutritional, Underutilized., leafy vegetables, medicinal
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