Plants gathered in Grosses Walsertal are comparable to those that appear in other European studies. Those most similar are the free-listed plant species from Eastern Tyrol, Austria , where both vegetation and culture are comparable. Nevertheless, the order (frequency, rank and Smith’s salience) differs. Some plant species are mentioned noticeably less frequently in Grosses Walsertal than in Eastern Tyrol, e.g. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. (mentioned by 81% of respondents in Eastern Tyrol) occurs in lists supplied by Walser people just four times (11%), Cetraria islandica (mentioned by 44% of respondents in Eastern Tyrol) just three times (8%). These plants are less widespread in the alpine regions of Grosses Walsertal. This result supports the proposition that the more common a plant species is in an area, the greater the probability of its popular use .
Results from Italy  regarding the plant varieties gathered are also comparable to those gathered in Grosses Walsertal, but the importance of each single plant (e.g. expressed through frequency of mentions) differs between the two regions. While Alchemilla millefolium agg., Arnica montana L., Malva neglecta WALLR., Rubus idaeus L., Taraxacum officinalis agg., Urtica dioica L. and Vaccinium myrtillus L. are among the most frequently mentioned plant species in Italy and in the Austrian Grosses Walsertal, Alchemilla vulgaris L. agg., Hypericum perforatum L., Sambucus nigra L., Tussilago farfara L. – included in the most frequently mentioned plant species in the Austrian Grosses Walsertal – are taxa quoted in the Italian study by fewer than 10% of respondents . On the other hand, Tanacetum vulgare L.– among the taxa quoted by at least 40% of respondents in Italy – is mentioned by just three of the Austrian respondents (8%). Peucedanum ostruthium (L.) W.D.J.KOCH for veterinary folk medicine – among the taxa quoted by more than 40% of respondents in Italy – has a lower value in the Austrian Grosses Walsertal, quoted by just 26% of respondents. Fragaria vesca L., Juniperus communis L., Plantago lanceolata L. and Thymus sp. are quoted more often in Grosses Walsertal; Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. and Viola odorata L. are quoted more often in Italy. Indeed, there are other plants that do not occur in both lists.
Plant species also used in Bulgaria  include Urtica dioica L., Rosa sp. Rubus idaeus L., Matricaria chamomilla L. and Thymus sp., with many other plants similar to the presented results. In the Mediterranean region, plants such as Thymus sp., Sambucus nigra L., Mentha sp., Melissa officinalis L., Taraxacum officinalis agg., Urtica dioica L. [26, 27, 67] are similar to those mentioned in Grosses Walsertal.
It is striking that people in Grosses Walsertal do not mention mushrooms which are however mentioned as a source of wild edible plants in other studies on gathering [7, 18]. They do occur in the region and in participatory observation were also detected as being gathered, but seem to have no “history of gathering” in the valley. The mention of Alchemilla alpina and Alchemilla vulgaris L. agg. at the top of the list in Grosses Walsertal is noteworthy as they are found in just a few studies elsewhere [12, 17, 65, 68–70] (Poland until the 19th century ). Respondents refer to the “traditional alpine tea” when they mention Alchemilla sp. Alpine pasturing was a traditional method of livestock management and, to a certain extent, is still practiced in the valley. Gathering plants therefore also reflects people’s ways of life: they gather near to where they live .
In Grosses Walsertal, the families with the most plant species mentioned are Lamiaceae, Asteraceae and Rosaceae. This is almost similar to studies conducted for example in Spain (Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, Fabaceae, Rosaceae[7, 35, 71] and Palestine . “Té” in Spain refers to 70 different plant species, the most frequent families being Asteracea and Lamiaceae.
As in Grosses Walsertal, the most common use reports elsewhere are as medicine and in food preparation (e.g. Eastern Tyrol, Austria: , Bulgaria: , Spain: ). Plants falling along the food-medicine continuum  take up a large part of the species list [3, 4, 19]. Most of the non-crop edible plants and those consumed in drinks have medicinal usage (Spain: 77.3% in ). Most frequently applied remedies are teas made from leaves or flowers . In Spain tea (té) is also not primarily associated with Camellia sinensis, but rather with herbal tea plants  – the same as in Grosses Walsertal, where people even use the term “collecting tea” instead of “collecting herbal plants”.
Even just by looking at the titles of papers by other authors, it is obvious that the focus on ethnobotanical knowledge in Europe is on the alimentary and medicinal use of plants. Other use categories are far less represented, e.g. use reports for dyeing  or in the “domestic, ludic, agropastoral, magic/medicinal, religious, handicraft or magic/ritual/propitiatory” categories . Similarly, fewer use reports in these categories were given in Grosses Walsertal, summarised here as “others” – e.g. the “Pfannenfrusi”, a little bunch of dried twigs of Calluna vulgaris, which was used in the past to clean pans. Plants gathered for firewood and materials for tools and shelters did not appear in the free lists in Grosses Walsertal. As clearly stated, in this region the idea of gathering is related more to herbal teas than to the scientific concept of wild versus cultivated. It seems that this is the reason why plants used for firewood etc. were not mentioned, since these technological aspects are far removed from local people’s associations with the term “plant gathering”.
Compared with “earlier literature” [30, 49–51] the interviews did not reveal any totally unknown or surprising results. There seems to be no special “Walser knowledge” that is known and practiced only by people in Grosses Walsertal, but rather common plant knowledge spread over the region.
The fact that respondents also listed plants they cultivated in their gardens has also occurred in other studies, e.g. Spain: [7, 9, 75], Bulgaria  and Austria . Christanell  argues that this can be explained by a reflection of the history of plant management in the area. Plants which are no longer easily available have been moved slowly into nearby habitats and become cultivated in people’s gardens . This may also be true for Grosses Walsertal. One respondent explicitly stated that she dug up a root of Peucedanum ostruthium (L.) W.D.J.KOCH from the Alpine pasture and planted it in her own garden because she was “too old to climb up the mountain anymore”. Nevertheless, we believe that the mention of many plant species (almost one third) grown in people’s gardens is more a psychological matter in terms of associations made by respondents when they were asked to name plant species gathered in the wild. When people thought of herbal plant species or plants they use for tea blends, they simply ended up listing all the plants they use, no matter where these plants are growing. For their work on plants traditionally gathered in the Basque Country, Mendez-Baceta et al. also decided to include reports of all species that were referred to by informants as “wild” in their concept of the term, independently of considerations concerning their potential management. The local terms mostly include native species growing in their natural habitat, but sometimes also managed or even promoted by planting their seeds. There are also domesticated species that grew in the area, both cultivated and in the wild. So it was impossible to distinguish between spontaneous or sown species. It is not the botanical or scientific concept of “wild” that counts, but rather local people’s own perception and what they associate with this term.
In many of the sites investigated, the activity of plant gathering, use and management seems to be predominantly done by women [17, 76].
Guidelines for gathering plants are not particularly well documented – at least not in ethnobotanical scientific literature. However it is still important to present these informal guidelines as they also reflect people’s attitude towards nature and the utilisation of nature’s products. While in other countries (e.g. Bulgaria: ) sustainable collecting methods are not practiced, because people (usually working in companies) do not feel connected to the area and so just pick as much as possible, people in Grosses Walsertal use their environment with great respect and gratitude. It is noteworthy just how much respondents emphasised the importance of the sustainable use of natural resources. It is assumed that this is less due to the fact that Grosses Walsertal is a biosphere reserve than to people’s regional identity and appreciation of nature (see also: ).
In Bulgaria, for instance, the financial aspects of gathering plants are to the fore . In contrast, making an income from gathered and processed plants is not the main motivation of people in Grosses Walsertal. They primarily gather plants for joy. It is an expression of being connected to nature (see also: ). This motivation has developed from a negative perception of wild plant consumption in the past – as a symbol of poverty (see also: [20, 75]) – to a very positive connotation nowadays. In some countries, it is also linked to tourist activities (e.g. Poland:  and Spain: ) which has allowed for a revitalisation of wild plant gathering and their use in traditional cuisine as an expression of cultural heritage. It can also be used as marketing for the Biosphere Reserve Grosses Walsertal . However, the strengthening of regional identity outwards (e.g. through marketing the Biosphere Reserve) also consolidates the inward identity and awareness of the value of the nature around people. Therefore, wild plant gathering in Grosses Walsertal is not a vanishing knowledge at risk of being lost forever. Instead it is undergoing a process in which traditions are being revitalised.
Gathering plants is something many people seem to do in Grosses Walsertal. Nevertheless, the response of many people in the interviews was: “I don’t know anything special. It’s not worth your while asking me about it”. This expresses a lack of awareness of the value of their knowledge and practice. The belief however is that the foundation of the Bergtee association has raised awareness and furthered the exchange of knowledge. It is said that “Walser people do not talk very much” (as one respondent explained) – they are not used to talking about what they do. The Bergtee association provides an opportunity for coming together to chat and discuss people’s experiences so that they can all learn from one other. The Bergtee association provides an incentive and motivation for gathering plants. However, perhaps it is not so much the gathering activity that has changed through the Bergtee association, but rather the exchange of knowledge and awareness of its value.