Wild Food Plants

Wild foods are a part of rural people's diet, not only during periods of food shortages, but on a daily basis as well [31-32]. It is this daily consumption of wild products which contributes to the overall nutritional well-being of tribals. In Rajasthan, famine and food scarcity are not rare events. Under such circumstances, the role of wild edible plants becomes significant. Tribals use various parts of these wild edible plants for food, in either raw or cooked form (food grains, edible oils, edible gums), or for making pickle and marmalade, in paste as flavouring/souring agents, and for curd preparation.

A total of 162 plant species are reportedly consumed by tribals as food, of which 30 are used as grains/seeds, 34 as leafy vegetables, 23 as root/tubers, 31 as other vegetables, 3 as oilseeds, 6 as miscellaneous food, 10 as flavouring/souring agents, 52 as fruits, 5 as gum and 4 for instant curdling of milk [28] (Fig. 3.22).

Apart from the traditional use of wild plants for food and medicine, tribals also use the plants for a number of other needs, such as in religious and superstitious beliefs, tools and as cosmetics and shampoo.

54 S.S. Katewa

® Grain/Seeds

□ Leafy vegetables

H I toots*' tubers

Other vegetables m Oil seeds

E3 Flavouring souring agents m Fruits

SGum

¡1 Miscellaneous food EI] Instant curdlers

Number of ethno-food plant species reported under different food groups

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