Title

Ta Chorta: a comparative ethnobotanical-linguistic study of wild food plants in a graecanic area in Calabria, Southern Italy

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Nebel, S, & Heinrich, M 2009, 'Ta Chòrta: a comparative ethnobotanical-linguistic study of wild food plants in a graecanic area in Calabria, Southern Italy', Economic Botany, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 78-92.

The orginal publication is available at www.springerlink.com

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12231-008-9069-9

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Ta Chòrta: A Comparative Ethnobotanical-Linguistic Study of Wild Food Plants in a Graecanic Area in Calabria, Southern Italy. In the Mediterranean basin, with a manifold biocultural history, traditional knowledge is an important element of rural life. The use of food plants, for example, is a practice that has developed over generations and is part of the traditional knowledge system. However, for methodological reasons, the historical development of plant use is difficult to ascertain in cultures which rely on the oral transmission of knowledge. Here we discuss the antiquity of non-cultivated food plant use in the Graecanic area in Calabria, Southern Italy. We compare today’s gathered food plants in this ethnic Greek community with non-cultivated food plant use in modern and classical Greece using linguistic-historical methods. Fourteen cognates have been found, such as Portulaca oleracea (purslane), which is called andrácla in the Graecanic area in Southern Italy and andrákla in Greece. The young leaves of purslane are used as salad in both areas. Plants with such cognates are likely to have been used in the study region as vegetables, salads, or condiments since the time Magna Graecia flourished in Southern Italy more than 2,000 years ago.