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Tartu, Estonia

Kalle R.,Estonian University of Life Sciences | Soukand R.,Estonian Literary Museum
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2013

In this ethnobotanical study, the authors provide the first quantitative analysis of the use of wild edible plants in Estonia, describing the domains and assessing the food importance of different species. The information was collected using free-listing written questionnaires and concerned plants used by the respondents in their childhood. As part of a major study, this article covers the responses of professionals with some botanical education at vocational or university level, to ensure the greatest possible reliability without using voucher specimens. Fifty-eight respondents provided information on the use of 137 plant taxa, corresponding to approximately 6% of the native and naturalized vascular plants of Estonia. According to use frequency, the most typical wild food plant of Estonia is a fruit, eaten raw as a snack. The results clearly signal that the majority of famine and food shortage plants had already been forgotten by the end of the 20th century, but new plants have been introduced as green vegetables for making salads. Despite changes in the nomenclature of the plants, the use of wild food plants in Estonia was still thriving at the turn of the 20th century, covering many domains already forgotten in urbanized modern Europe. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London.

Luczaj L.,University of Rzeszow | Pieroni A.,University of Gastronomic Sciences | Tardio J.,Instituto Madrileno Of Investigacion Y Desarrollo Rural | Pardo-De-Santayana M.,Autonomous University of Madrid | And 3 more authors.
Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae | Year: 2012

The aim of this review is to present an overview of changes in the contemporary use of wild food plants in Europe, mainly using the examples of our home countries: Poland, Italy, Spain, Estonia and Sweden. We set the scene referring to the nutrition of 19th century peasants, involving many famine and emergency foods. Later we discuss such issues as children's wild snacks, the association between the decline of plant knowledge and the disappearance of plant use, the effects of over-exploitation, the decrease of the availability of plants due to ecosystem changes, land access rights for foragers and intoxication dangers. We also describe the 20th and 21st century vogues in wild plant use, particularly their shift into the domain of haute-cuisine. © The Author(s) 2012.

Kalle R.,Estonian University of Life Sciences | Soukand R.,Estonian Literary Museum
Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae | Year: 2012

This paper is a historical ethnobotanical review of wild plants used by the residents of present day Estonia during the 1770s-1960s. Twenty two sources addressing historical ethnographical accounts of the use of wild food plants were analysed. The use of 149 taxa of vascular plants (over 6% of Estonian vascular flora) and two lichens has been recorded. Although the data does not allow for reliable determination of the frequency of use of specific taxa among the population, general conclusions on the preferences for specific dishes made of wild food plants can be made. While the category of snacks covers the largest proportion of species used, a substantial addition to food rations was provided by bread ingredients (used predominantly in famine times), green vegetables used for making soup, and later jams and other dishes of wild berries. Also beverages (tea and coffee substitutes), beer and beer-like drinks were widely made, and the saps of several tree species were consumed in fresh and fermented form. The most important species, according to the criterion of diversity of use, were Carum carvi, Urtica dioica, and the wild berries Vaccinium vitis-idaea and Vaccinium myrtillus. © The Author(s) 2012.

Soukand R.,University of Tartu | Kalle R.,Estonian Literary Museum | Svanberg I.,Uppsala University
Journal of Insect Science | Year: 2010

Extensive folklore records from pre-modern Estonia give us an excellent opportunity to study a variety of local plant knowledge and plant use among the peasantry in various parts of the country. One important biocultural domain where plant knowledge has been crucial was in the various methods of combating different ectoparasites that cohabited and coexisted with humans and their domestic animals. Some of these methods were widely known (world-wide, Eurasia, Europe, Baltic Rim), while others were more local. Here we discuss ways of reducing clothes moths Tineola bisselliella (Hummel) (Lepidoptera: Tineidae), human fleas Pulex irritons L. (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae) and bedbugs Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) with the help of plants. Various taxa used as traditional repellents have been identified. The use of plants as repellents and their toxic principles are also discussed from a comparative perspective.

Soukand R.,Estonian Literary Museum | Pieroni A.,University of Gastronomic Sciences
Journal of Ethnopharmacology | Year: 2016

Ethnopharmacological relevance Recent studies have shown that groups sharing the same or very similar environments, but with diverse cultural backgrounds (e.g. different ethnos and/or religion) have considerably different knowledge of folk (medicinal) plant uses. Yet, it is not clear to what extent various factors (such as culture, economy, isolation, and especially social and political situations) contribute to such differences in the utilization of the same natural resources. Aim of the study This paper addresses the effect of border created in 1940 and subsequent separation of a single ethnic group on changes in their folk use of medicinal and wild food plants. The Hutsuls of Bukovina had been homogenous for centuries, but were separated in 1940 as a result of the formation of state borders between Romania and the former Soviet Union (now Ukraine). The aim of the study is to analyse if the belonging to this different states for 75 years have induced different changes in local plant use within communities that share a common historical legacy and environment. Materials and methods In depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 42 people in May 2015. Collected data were analysed, and comparisons were made between the data gathered on the two sides of the border for different use categories: medicinal, wild food and veterinary plants, as well as other remedies. Recently collected data were also compared with historical data obtained for the region, medicinal plant folk uses in Romania and medicinal plant uses of The State Pharmacopeia of the Soviet Union. Results Divergences in current medicinal plant use are much greater than in the use of wild food plants. The majority of the wild food taxa, including those used for making recreational teas, are also used for medicinal purposes and hence contribute to the food-medicine continuum, representing emergency foods in the past and serving as memory markers for possible future food shortages. Compared with the historical data, considerable changes have occurred within specific medicinal applications and less in the taxa used. The influence of the Soviet State Pharmacopeia on present ethnomedicine on the Ukrainian side is minimal. Conclusions Hutsul herbal ethnomedicine on the Ukrainian side of the border has continued to evolve (the abandonment of some uses and the adoption of others), whereas on the Romanian side it has undergone significant erosion with a proportionally smaller adoption of new uses and the leaving behind of possibly more "traditional" uses than on the Ukrainian side. In sum, current ethnomedicinal practices of Hutsuls living on both sides of the border are more extensive than those reported in historical sources. Yet the unknown sampling method employed to collect the historical data and possible skipping of "ordinary" uses by folklorists and ethnographers does not allow for definitive conclusions to be drawn. Cross-cultural and cross-border ethnobotany represents one of the most powerful means for addressing the issue of change and variability of medicinal plant uses and heritage, and further studies in other areas of Eastern Europe and beyond need to address the trajectory proposed by the present study. © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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