Diversity of Crop Wild Relatives and Edible Wild Plants in Ethiopia
Vavilov and other authors have indicated that, Ethiopia is a center of origin and/or diversity for many economically important crops species such as Coffea arabica, Enset ventricosum, Eragrostis tef, Guizotia abyssinica, Hordeum vulgare, Sorghum bicolor, Triticum durum and others. In most cases the distribution of crop wild relatives is correlated with the diversity of flora within a country. Therefore, Ethiopia is not only a center of origin and diversity of many cultivated plants, but also a source for important crop wild relatives. Wild and weedy relatives of many crops such as: Eragrostis tef, Eleusine crocana, Sorgum bicolor, Lens culinaris, Lathyrus stativus, Guzotia abyssinica, Plectranthus edulis and others with their distribution within the county is discussed. On the other hand, consumption of edible wild plants is common in Ethiopia. Studies showed that, there are more than 413 edible wild plants in Ethiopia, which belongs to 224 genera from 77 families. Some of the edible wild fruits includes: Carissa spinarium, Cordia africana, Dovyalis abyssinica, Ficus spp., Grewia spp., Mimusops kummel, Rosa abyssinica, Rubus apetalus, Syzigium guineense, Ximenia americana, Ziziphus spina-Christi and others. In addition to their food values, edible wild plants are also used as source of income. Even though, the diversity of crop wild relatives and wild edible plants is high in Ethiopia; several factors which affects the natural and agricultural ecosystems are affecting the resource severely. Among which, human induced threats such as deforestation of the natural vegetation, overgrazing, land fragmentation, wildfire, application of broad spectrum herbicides in agricultural fields are the major once. These coupled with the natural catastrophes such as pest and diseases, drought and other effects of climate change are being threatening the resources. Therefore, an immediate measure which can alleviate these problems and which surpasses the speed of loss of the resources is crucial.