Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 629–644 | Cite as

Ethnobotanical knowledge and agrobiodiversity in subsistence farming: case study of home gardens in Phong My commune, central Vietnam

  • Martina Vlkova
  • Zbynek PolesnyEmail author
  • Vladimir Verner
  • Jan Banout
  • Marek Dvorak
  • Jaroslav Havlik
  • Bohdan Lojka
  • Petr Ehl
  • Jitka Krausova
Research Article


Ethnobotanical survey was conducted in 101 randomly selected home gardens of Phong My commune, central Vietnam, situated in the buffer-zone of Natural Reserve. Data were collected through semi-structured questionnaires and direct observation. Sixty-seven species belonging to 35 families were identified to be used for various purposes. For each species the botanical and vernacular names, plant parts used and main purposes of use are given. The major use categories reported for plant species were food (86%), medicine (32%) and firewood (32%), however, seventy-seven percent of all inventoried plants have multiple uses. The species Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam., Citrus grandis Osbeck, Citrus reticulata Blanco, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. and Musa spp. were identified as the main sources of plant foods consumed within the households. Statistical analyses indicated by Shannon-Wiener and Margalef indices have shown that local species diversity and richness is affected by home garden size. On the contrary, no relationship between diversity and home garden age was found. On the basis of a cluster analysis of plant species diversity, five home garden types were differentiated. In comparison to previously reported studies on tropical home gardens, the diversity in Phong My is lower, probably due to market-oriented strategy. Nevertheless, based on the results achieved, we can conclude that useful plants cultivated in local home gardens provide valuable foods complementing daily diet and subsequently contributing to socioeconomic status of the households.


Diversity indices Ethnobotany Home gardens Kinh ethnic group Vietnam 



We would like to acknowledge Phong My farmers who shared their time and knowledge with intention to help to realize this survey. Special thanks go to Mr. Nguyen Duc Cam for help with identification of plant species. We are also indebted to the donors who made the study possible through their financial and technical support, the Department of Crop Sciences and Agroforestry of the Institute of Tropics and Subtropics, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, the Foundation “Nadani Josefa, Marie a Zdenky Hlavkovych” and the Czech Development Cooperation Project “Sustainable Development in Phong My Commune” (MZe/B/8).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Vlkova
    • 1
  • Zbynek Polesny
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vladimir Verner
    • 2
  • Jan Banout
    • 3
  • Marek Dvorak
    • 4
  • Jaroslav Havlik
    • 5
  • Bohdan Lojka
    • 1
  • Petr Ehl
    • 3
  • Jitka Krausova
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop Sciences and Agroforestry, Institute of Tropics and SubtropicsCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6-SuchdolCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Economic Development, Institute of Tropics and SubtropicsCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6-SuchdolCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Sustainable Technologies, Institute of Tropics and SubtropicsCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6-SuchdolCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Econometrics, Faculty of Mathematics and PhysicsCharles University PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Microbiology, Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural ResourcesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6-SuchdolCzech Republic

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