Herbarium specimens are underexploited sources of plant use information for conservation purposes. We assessed a total of 4717 specimens representing 293 species deposited at the National Herbarium of Ethiopia, belonging to families Rubiaceae (2505 specimens representing 109 species), Solanaceae (894/69), Cucurbitaceae (743/66) and Burseraceae (575/49) for information documenting their use. In addition, relevant volumes of Flora of Ethiopia and Erittea were examined for recorded traditional uses. Data were analysed to identify specimen and flora representations of locally useful species so as to detect anthropogenic influences against them. It was found that 34.5% (101 species) had documented ethnobotanical uses. About 10% (29 species) were found represented each with only single specimen, hence hardly possible to detect their conservation status. The presence of limited plant use information calls for an effort for future plant collections, label preparations and flora revisions. Moreover, prior attention has to be given for documentation and conservation of red listed endemic species that have traditional use reports.
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