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Economic Botany

, 55:377 | Cite as

Wild edible plants of the Sikkim Himalaya: Nutritive values of selected species

  • Manju SundriyalEmail author
  • R. C. SundriyalEmail author
Article

Abstract

The wild edible plants form an important constituent of traditional diets in the Himalaya. In the Sikkim Himalaya a total of 190 species have been screened as edible species out of which nearly 47 species come to the market. The present paper deals with nutritive values of 27 most commonly consumed wild edible plants in the Sikkim Himalaya. Of 27 plant species that were analyzed for their nutritive values, 22 were edible for their fruits and five for leaves/shoots. Among different plant parts, generally higher nutrient concentration was recorded for leaves, followed by new shoots and fruits. For different species the crude fiber content ranged between 2.15–39.90%, and the total soluble salts between 4.66–21.0%, and the vitamin C content from 6-286 mg/100 g. The fat content was determined high in the fruits of Castanopsis species, Machilus edulis, and Cinnamomum species, while the protein content was highest in Hippophae rhamnoides, Cuc-umis melo, and Eleagnus latifolia. The total carbohydrate content ranged from 32-88% in the fruits of various wild edibles, the reducing sugar from 1.25–12.42%, total sugar from 2.10–25.09%, the lignin content varied from 9.05–39.51%, the hemicellulose between 25.63-55.71% and cellulose content varied from 9.57–33.19% in different species. Among the various mac-ronutrients estimated in the plant samples of different wild edible species, nitrogen was present in highest quantity, followed by potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. Mi-cronutrients, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper contents were analyzed in different plant parts of various wild edible species. The iron content was higher in leaves and new shoots. The study shows that wild edible plants are good source of nutrient for rural population, and also well comparable with various commercial fruits. It is suggested that a few wild edible species need to be grown for commercial cultivation and adopted in the traditional agroforestry systems, which will lead to reduced pressure on them in natural forest stands as well as producing economic benefits for poor farmers.

Key Words

wild edible plants nutritive values proximate analysis macro- and micronutrients Sikkim Himalaya 

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & DevelopmentNorth East UnitVivek ViharIndia

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