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Open Access Research

Food, flavouring and feed plant traditions in the Tyrrhenian sector of Basilicata, Italy

Paolo Maria Guarrera1*, Giovanni Salerno2 and Giulia Caneva2

Author Affiliations

1 Museo Nazionale Arti e Tradizioni Popolari, Piazza Marconi 8/10 00144 Rome, Italy

2 Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Roma Tre, Viale Marconi 446, 00146 Rome, Italy

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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2006, 2:37  doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-37

Published: 7 September 2006



Research was carried out in the years 2002–2003 into food, flavouring and feed folk traditions of plants in the Tyrrhenian part of the Basilicata region (southern Italy). This area was colonized in ancient times by Greeks. Data was collected through field interviews, especially of farmers.


Field data were collected through structured interviews. The informants, numbered 49, belonged to families which had strong links with the traditional activities of the area.


61 taxa are cited, belonging to 26 botanical families, amongst which 44 used as food or flavouring and 22 for animal alimentation. Besides 7 taxa are involved in rituals especially connected with agriculture and plant growth.


The preservation of some rituals especially concerning agricultural plants is noteworthy in the area, together with a certain degree of continuity in food uses. Knowledge and rediscovery of recipes in human and animal diet could represent an economic potential for the area.