Field research news: Ethnobotanical survey of root and tuber plants in the Peruvian Amazon

Although a high diversity of tropical root and tuber crops and plants are used by indigenous people in the tropics since ancient times, many of these species are still largely unexplored and neglected by science.

In the frame of the dissertation entitled ‘Characterization of plant genetic resources of root and tuber crops used in the Peruvian Amazon’, a member of our team Goldis Perry Davila has recently returned from his field research expedition to Ucayali, San Martín and Loreto Regions. During this phase of his field research, he conducted an ethnobotanical survey of local markets and communities through individual semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions complemented with voucher specimen collection.

The preliminary results highlighted 9 key species, namely Calathea allouia, Colocasia esculenta, Dioscorea alata, Dioscorea trifida, Dioscorea bulbifera, Dracontium spruceanum, Pachyrhizus tuberosus and Xanthosoma sagittifolium. All documented species will be further investigated to characterize their intraspecific morphological and genetic variability.

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