The use of wild plants for food: a national scale analysis for Burkina Faso (West Africa)

  • Karen Hahn
  • Marco Schmidt
  • Adjima Thiombiano
Keywords wild food plants, edible plant parts, rural livelihoods, Burkina Faso, West Africa


Edible wild plants are an important supplement to the diets and livelihoods of rural households in West Africa. Despite their role in improving diets, mitigating famine periods and generating income there is a lack of extensive information on their uses for broader areas. Based on ethnobotanical records, we investigated wild food plants on the national scale of Burkina Faso, to provide a comprehensive overview of all edible plants, their taxonomy, plant parts and preparations. Our study revealed a relatively high number of 354 edible wild species, representing 66 plant families, with Fabaceae and Poaceae being the most species rich. Almost one third of these species have two to four edible plant parts. The number of species with edible fruits ranked highest, followed by seeds, leaves, starchy underground storage organs and others. Overall, the results underline that wild plant species contribute considerably to nutrition and the database compiled in this study constitutes a good basis for further evaluations of the potential of edible plants in Burkina Faso.

How to Cite
K. Hahn, M. Schmidt, and A. Thiombiano, “The use of wild plants for food: a national scale analysis for Burkina Faso (West Africa)”, FVSS, vol. 21, pp. 25-33, Dec. 2018.