|University of Fort Hare
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An ethnobotanical survey was conducted in Alice and Willowvale in the Nkonkobe and Mbashe municipalities of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa to identify and document wild vegetables growing in the areas. The survey documented 22 vegetable species belonging to 12 different families. The Amaryllidaceae, Amaranthaceae, Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Caryophyllaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Convolvulaceae, Cruciferae, Cucurbitaceaea, Euphorbiaceae, Tiliaceae, Solanaceae, Polygonaceae and Urticaceae were the families that were recorded. The species were Tulbaghia violacea Harv., Amaranthus blitoides S., Amaranthus blitum L., Amaranthus hybridus L., Centella coriacea Nannfd., Bidens pilosa L, Cotula heterocarpa DC., Sonchus oleraceus L., Galinsoga parviflora Cav., Taraxacum officinale Weber, Hypochaeris radicata L., Stellaria media L., Chenopodium album L., Chenopodium murale L., Ipomoea batatas L., Sisymbrium thellungii O. Schulz, Cucurbita pepo L., Rumex crispus L., Acalypha virginica L., Nicandra physalodes L., Physalis peruviana L., Solanum nigrum L., Urtica urens L. and Corchorus olitorius L. About 27 % of the wild vegetables were native to South Africa and about 45 % were also used as medicinal plants in the areas. Sun drying was the most common method of preserving the wild vegetables for the off season months. This study also revealed that, men and the younger generation knew less about wild vegetables than the women. The study also revealed a loss of knowledge of wild vegetables and their use by the rural dwellers who are more in favour of the exotic types such as spinach and cabbage.