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Open Access Research

Wild vegetable mixes sold in the markets of Dalmatia (southern Croatia)

Łukasz Łuczaj1*, Marijana Zovko Končić2, Tihomir Miličević3, Katija Dolina4 and Marija Pandža5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Botany and Biotechnology of Economic Plants, University of Rzeszów, Institute of Applied Biotechnology and Basic Sciences, Werynia 502, 36-100 Kolbuszowa, Poland

2 Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Marulicev trg 20, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

3 Department of Plant Pathology, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Svetošimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

4 University of Dubrovnik, Institute for Marine and Coastal Research, Kneza Damjana Jude 12, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia

5 Marija Pandža, Primary school "Murterski škoji", Put škole 8, Murter, 22243, Croatia

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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2013, 9:2  doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-2

Published: 3 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Dalmatia is an interesting place to study the use of wild greens as it lies at the intersection of influence of Slavs, who do not usually use many species of wild greens, and Mediterranean culinary culture, where the use of multiple wild greens is common. The aim of the study was to document the mixtures of wild green vegetables which are sold in all the vegetable markets of Dalmatia.

Methods

All vendors (68) in all 11 major markets of the Dalmatian coast were interviewed. The piles of wild vegetables they sold were searched and herbarium specimens taken from them.

Results

The mean number of species in the mix was 5.7. The most commonly sold wild plants are: Sonchus oleraceus L., Allium ampeloprasum L., Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Urospermum picroides F.W.Schmidt, Papaver rhoeas L., Daucus carota L., Taraxacum sp., Picris echioides L., Silene latifolia Poir. and Crepis spp. Also the cultivated beet (Beta vulgaris L.) and a few cultivated Brassicaceae varieties are frequent components. Wild vegetables from the mix are usually boiled for 20–30 minutes and dressed with olive oil and salt. Altogether at least 37 wild taxa and 13 cultivated taxa were recorded.

Apart from the mixes, Asparagus acutifolius L. and Tamus communis L. shoots are sold in separate bunches (they are usually eaten with eggs), as well as some Asteraceae species, the latter are eaten raw or briefly boiled.

Conclusions

The rich tradition of eating many wild greens may result both from strong Venetian and Greek influences and the necessity of using all food resources available in the barren, infertile land in the past. Although the number of wild-collected green vegetables is impressive we hypothesize that it may have decreased over the years, and that further in-depth local ethnobotanical studies are needed in Dalmatia to record the disappearing knowledge of edible plants.

Keywords:
Wild food plants; Herbophilia; Market survey; Ethnobotany; Ethnobiology; Wild edible plants