Wild edible plants form an important constituent of traditional diets in the Himalaya. In the Sikkim Himalaya a total of 190 species have been screened as edible species out of which nearly 47 species come to the market. The present paper deals with nutritive values of 27 most commonly consumed wild edible plants in the Sikkim Himalaya. Of 27 plant species that were analyzed for their nutritive values, 22 were edible for their fruits and five for leaves/shoots. Among different plant parts, generally higher nutrient concentration was recorded for leaves, followed by new shoots and fruits. For different species the crude fiber content ranged between 2.15–39.90%, and the total soluble salts between 4.66–21.00%, and the vitamin C content from 6–286 mg/100 g. The fat content was determined high in the fruits of Castanopsis hystrix, Machilus edulis, and Cinnamomum species, while the protein content was highest in Hippophae rhamnoides, Cucumis melo, and Eleagnus latifolia. The total carbohydrate content ranged from 32–88% in the fruits of various wild edibles, the reducing sugar from 1.25–12.42%, total sugar from 2.10–25.09%, the lignin content varied from 9.05–39.51%, the hemicellulose between 25.63–55.71% and cellulose content varied from 9.57–33.19% in different species. Among the various macronutrients estimated in the plant samples of different wild edible species, nitrogen was present in highest quantity, followed by potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. Micronutrients, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper contents were analyzed in different plant parts of various wild edible species. The iron content was higher in leaves and new shoots. The nutritive values of certain wild edible species determined in this study are comparable with various commercial fruits. It is suggested that a few wild edible species need to be grown for commercial cultivation and adopted in the traditional agroforestry systems, which will lead to reduced pressure on them in natural forest stands as well as producing economic benefits for poor farmers.
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Vol. 58 • No. 2