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Gathered Wild Food Plants in the Upper Valley of the Serchio River (Garfagnana), Central Italy

Andrea Pieroni
Economic Botany
Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1999), pp. 327-341
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4256207
Page Count: 15
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Gathered Wild Food Plants in the Upper Valley of the Serchio River (Garfagnana), Central Italy
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Abstract

A study of the traditional gathered food plants in the upper valley of the Serchio river (Garfagnana), Lucca Province, north-west Tuscany, central Italy, was carried out. One hundred thirty-three species (including fungi), belonging to 48 families, were encountered. The geographical isolation of the valley and the survival of old gastronomic traditions have permitted a rich popular knowledge to be maintained. In particular, the tradition of preparing in springtime a characteristic vegetal soup (minestrella) based on about forty wild vegetables in a very restricted area of the valley might be correlated with influences of pre-Roman civilisations. An uncommon specific food utilization of Bryonia dioica and Prunus laurocerasus as well as the consumption in some districts of Fagus sylvatica seeds, Taxus baccata and Crocus napolitanus fruits as snacks and the very common use of Clematis vitalba shoots seem to demonstrate a well established tradition to use unpalatable vegetal sources. Ethnopharmacological aspects of the consumption of these species are discussed. /// E' stato effettuato uno studio sulla raccolta tradizionale di piante ad uso alimentare nella parte superiore della valle del Serchio (Garfagnana), Provincia di Lucca, Toscana nord-occidentale, Italia centrale. 133 specie (inclusi funghi), appartenenti a 48 famiglie, sono state censite. L'isolamento geografico della valle e la sopravvivenza di vecchie tradizioni gastronomiche hanno permesso ad una ricca conoscenza popolare di mantenersi inalterata fino ai nostri giorni. In particolare, la tradizione della preparazione in primavera di una caratteristica zuppa vegetale (minestrella) basata talvolta su più di quaranta specie spontanee in un'aerea molto ristretta della valle potrebbe essere messa in relazione ad influenze di civiltà pre-romane in quel territorio. L'utilizzazione alimentare non comune di Bryonia dioica e Prunus laurocerasus così come il consumo di semi di Fagus sylvatica, di frutti di Taxus baccata e Crocus napolitanus come snack e l'uso molto comune di giovani parti aeree di Clematis vitalba sembrano dimostrare una consolidata tradizione ad usare fonti vegetali non palatabili. Aspetti etnofarmacologici legati al consumo di queste specie vengono discussi.

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