Ethnobotanical study and traditional use of autochthonous pear varieties (Pyrus communis L.) in southwest Serbia (Polimlje)
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© 2019, Springer Nature B.V.
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This work represents an ethnobotanical and ethnomedicinal study focused on recording autochthonous pear varieties of the Polimlje region in southwest Serbia. The purpose of the study was to highlight genetic resources of pear varieties in situ and emphasize aspects of ethnodiversity and traditional knowledge. A special feature of the research area is the great diversity of indigenous varieties of pear, which have been cultivated for hundreds of years. Forty-six respondents from 25 to 78 years of age residing in 23 villages were interviewed, and 26 autochthonous pear varieties were recorded in the field. Among them 11.5% are widely available, 26.9% are rare, and 61.5% are very rare. For ethnomedicinal purposes, pear is used as a remedy against hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and constipation; for reduction of body mass; as a uroseptic and/or an antirheumatic; and for cancer prevention. Pears are consumed as fresh fruit and in numerous food products. Depopulation of the investigated rural area is directly responsible for depletion of the gene pool of pear varieties and for loss of traditional knowledge. Preservation can be achieved by in situ methods such as raising awareness of the local inhabitants and ensuring support of the State.
Keywords:Diversity of pear varieties; Ethnobotany; Ethnomedicine; Traditional knowledge
Source:Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 2019, 66, 3, 589-609
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