WILD MEDICINAL AND ALIMENTARY PLANTS OF LEAOTA MOUNTAINS

Since the first humans settled around Leoata Mountains, local communities sustainable use the wild plants as food, to treat various ailments or as magic plants in ceremonials linked with popular holidays and life stages. Traditional knowledge in the area is astonishing.

According our botanical researches, the virgin forests and the well-preserved meadows of Leaota Mountains shelters over 800 species of higher plants. A rapid ethnobotanical survey in the area revealed the presence of over 100 plant species traditionally used by the local communities as medicinal, cosmetic, food or even magic plants.

The fruits of Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Dewberry (Rubus caesius) and Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca), are very popular in the area for jam, juice or tea.

The flowers of Alpenrose (Rhododendron myrtifolium) and Elder (Sambucus nigra), and the young shoots of Spruce (Picea abies) and Fir (Abies alba) are also broadly used for syrup and tea.

The holly plants of Thyme (Thymus sp.), Nettle (Urtica dioica) and St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) are used as medicinal and aromatic tea. In the spring, boiled Nettles are used as an alimentary plant for humans and domestic animals.

The conservation and sustainable use of wild plants are of a high importance. Leaota area is an important reservoir for this resources and an in-situ conservation site. Wildland and FCC promote and guard the sustainable use of these wild plants on our properties.

It is especially important in a natural, well-preserved area, surrounded by human settlements, to know and promote the traditions of local communities of which botanical traditions are some of the most important ones. Conserving biodiversity, alongside traditional knowledge of sustainable plant use, can have considerable benefits for nature conservation, as well as for the wellbeing of local communities. Ecotourism programmes based on these resources can become an important source of income for local people.

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