This paper reports an ethnobotanical investigation, performed between 1999 and 2002, to determine the wild food plants traditionally used in the province of Madrid (central Spain). One hundred and twenty-three vascular species belonging to 31 families were at one time used as vegetables, wild fruits, in the making of beverages, as seasonings, or as other preparations. Wild vegetables formed the largest group, with Scolymus hispanicus, Silene vulgaris, and Rumex pulcher the most frequently cooked vegetables, and Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum and Montia fontana the most commonly used in salads. Also common was the consumption of asparagus and several species of climbing plants such as Bryonia dioica, Tamus communis, and Humulus lupulus. Ethnobotanical novelties included Sonchus crassifolius, the young sprouts of which were used in salads, and Inula salicina, used to make herbal tea. Some ecological and cultural aspects of the collection of wild plants for food are discussed, as well as the relationships between the food and medicinal uses of some species.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2