Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 587–603 | Cite as

Traditional uses of wild food and medicinal plants among Brigasc, Kyé, and Provençal communities on the Western Italian Alps

  • Giulia Mattalia
  • Cassandra L. Quave
  • Andrea Pieroni
Research Article


An ethnobotanical field study on the traditional uses of wild medicinal and food plants was conducted in three linguistically distinct mountainous communities located at the East End of the Occitan macro-area, in the Western Italian Alps. Interviews with a total of 81 mid-aged and elderly informants were undertaken using standard ethnobotanical methods. The uses of 92 vascular plants belonging to 40 different plant families were recorded. Comparison of the collected data with the ethnobotanical findings of previously conducted studies in other Occitan/Provençal valleys (specifically the Stura and Varaita valleys) has shown that nearly the half of the uses recorded in this study were not reported in other valleys, strongly suggesting a heterogeneous character to Occitan ethnobotany. The specific uses of certain wild plants as famine foods and medicines in this region are highlighted.


Alps Piedmont Ethnobotany Occitans Briga Kyé Famine food Traditional knowledge 



Special thanks are due to all participants, who graciously agreed to share their TK, and to all of the students who gathered the data in the field, including plant specimens, as well as video recordings: Svetlana Noskova, Roberta Nanu, Elena Massaia, Federica Bolla, Alberto Capelli, Tommaso Malfa, Giulio Di Sabato, Katharina Stoeckel, Katharina Zahn, Eran Kalmanson, Richard Haubenberger, Florian Ehn, Andrea Gaggero, Wilfried Rembangouet, Valentina Bosia, Anastasia Ruzaykina, Adriana Zanchi, Silvia Paoli, Gaia Lochetti, Giorgia Catalano, Francesca Selvaggio, Federico Battaglia, Elena Fachino, Andrea Masino, Federico Mina, and Martina Spreafico.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulia Mattalia
    • 1
  • Cassandra L. Quave
    • 2
  • Andrea Pieroni
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Gastronomic SciencesPollenzoItaly
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Human HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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