Vol. 3, Issue 6 (2018)
Diversity and traditional knowledge of wild fruit used by Muthuvan tribes of Wayanad district, Kerala, India
Author(s): Venkatesan Krishnamoorthi, Murugeswaran Rajendran, Kabiruddin Ahamed Khazi, Zaheer Ahmed Noor
Abstract: Wild fruits are generally used as raw or processed, which help to compensate the day to- day requirement of calories. Wild fruits play a significant role in human nutrition, especially as sources of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and enormous medicinal potential. Dietary use of wild fruits, nuts and seeds, appear in numerous historical records. Today, most human plant foods are based on limited number of crops. However, it is clear that in many parts of the world, the use of wild plants is not negligible. In India, the indigenous fruits collected from the wild sources are play a significant role in the health care, food and nutrient security of rural poor and tribals. Some of the wild fruits have been identified to have better nutritional value than cultivated fruits. The present study deals with the ethnobotanical exploration, identification and future potentialities of the wild edible fruits consumed by the Muthuvan tribes inhabited in the hilly areas of Wayanad district of Kerala. Fifty nine species of wild edible fruits belonging to 57 genera and 39 families used by Muthuvans were recorded. Due to the climate changes and environmental degradation, there is a high risk of biodiversity loss at a large scale. Under such circumstances, the knowledge and uses of nutritious, climatically adapted wild edible fruits will be irreversibly lost. Hence, research attention is needed to increase awareness on the use and management of wild edible fruits for their conservation.