Open Access

Wild edible plants of Belarus: from Rostafiński’s questionnaire of 1883 to the present

  • Łukasz Łuczaj1Email author,
  • Piotr Köhler2,
  • Ewa Pirożnikow3,
  • Maja Graniszewska4,
  • Andrea Pieroni5 and
  • Tanya Gervasi5
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine20139:21

DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-9-21

Received: 13 February 2013

Accepted: 16 March 2013

Published: 4 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Belarus is an Eastern European country, which has been little studied ethnobotanically. The aim of the study was to compare largely unpublished 19th century sources with more contemporary data on the use of wild food plants.

Methods

The information on 19th century uses is based on twelve, mainly unpublished, responses to Józef Rostafiński’s questionnaire from 1883, and the newly discovered materials of the ethnographer Michał Federowski, who structured his data according to Rostafiński’s questionnaire and documented it with voucher specimens. Rostafiński’s questionnaire was concerned mainly with Polish territories, but for historical reasons this also encompassed a large part of Belarus, and we analyzed only the twelve responses (out of the few hundred Rostafiński obtained), which concerned the present Belarus. These data were compared with a few 20th century ethnographic sources, and our own 40 interviews and questionnaires from Belarus.

Results and discussion

58 taxa of wild food plants used in the 19th century were identified. Some of them are still used in modern Belarus, others are probably completely forgotten. In the 19th century several species of wild greens were widely used for making soups. Apart from Rumex, other wild greens are now either forgotten or rarely used. The list of species used in the 20th and 21st century encompasses 67 taxa. Nearly half of them were mentioned by Rostafiński’s respondents. The list of fruit species has not changed much, although in the 19th century fruits were mainly eaten raw, or with dairy or floury dishes, and now apart from being eaten raw, they are incorporated in sweet dishes like jams or cakes. Modern comparative data also contain several alien species, some of which have escaped from cultivation and are gathered from a semi-wild state, as well as children's snacks, which were probably collected in the 19th century but were not recorded back then.

Conclusion

The responses to Rostafiński from 1883 present extremely valuable historical material as the use of wild food plants in Belarus has since undergone drastic changes, similar to those, which have taken place in other Eastern European countries.

Keywords

Historical ethnobotany Wild green vegetables Wild food plants Non-timber forest products Belarus

Background

There has been a renewed interest in wild food plants in recent years due to world-wide concerns about the quality of food made from mass-produced crop plants, which are poor in micronutrients and grown in petroleum based agricultural systems [15]. At the same time, old traditions of plant gathering in most countries are being lost and need recording and preserving. This is also relevant for Eastern Europe. Fortunately in this part of the world many nineteenth and early twentieth century studies have managed to capture disappearing plant uses. This is one of the few places in the world where diachronic studies ranging over the period of a century are possible. Over the last few years, reviews of archival ethnographic studies concerning wild food plant use have been published in some eastern and northern European countries: Poland [68], Estonia [9], Hungary [10], Sweden [11] and Slovakia [12]. These reviews brought the majority of wild food plant literature and data together, enabling inter-country and inter-region comparisons. It also makes this data available for an international readership, as they were originally, predominantly published in their national languages. However, some eastern European countries still remain terra incognita for modern ethnobotany. One of them is Belarus. We have not found any modern ethnobotanical studies concerning this country, apart from a short FAO report on crop genetic resources [13]. At the same time it is a country with a very rich folklore. It was Kazimierz Moszyński (1887–1959), the author of Kultura ludowa Słowian (the Folk culture of Slavs), who pointed out that the present area of Belarus is one of the parts of Europe where many vestiges of traditional culture had been preserved [14, 15]. He made a few expeditions to the Belarusian region of Polesia himself [16] and published an ethnographic monograph of its eastern parts [17]. For many decades, Belarus was treated by Polish ethnographers as one of the most interesting, “archaic” and “backward” places of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ideal for ethnographic research. Even today, due to its political isolation and the fact that a part of its population still lives in traditional-style villages scattered over this heavily wooded country, Belarus is a very important place for European ethnobiology.

Moszyński was not the only Polish ethnographer fascinated with Belarus. Here we should list two other ethnographers: Michał Federowski (1853–1923) and Józef Obrębski (1905–1967). Late 19th century folklore concerning the use of medicinal plants was recorded by the afore-mentioned Federowski in the first volume of his “Lud Białoruski” (“Belarusian Folk”) [18] as well as by one of the leading Polish writers of that time, Eliza Orzeszkowa (1841–1910) [1928]. What is amazing is that both of them left rich, detailed herbaria documenting the names of plants and their uses. The second and third parts of Federowski’s herbarium are kept in the library of Warsaw University [29] and Orzeszkowa’s main herbarium is stored in Poznań [2428]. The first part of Federowski’s herbarium was regarded as lost until last year, when it was discovered by one of the co-authors of the article (M.G.). Additional sources of information are the materials gathered by local researcher, Zośka Wieras [30]. Thus we can conclude that the 19th century use of medicinal plants in some parts of Belarus is relatively well documented. Unfortunately, very little information has been published on the use of wild food plants from the same territory [17, 31]. At the same time a large and well documented set of observations on the use of wild food plants in 19th century Belarus, made up of responses to Rostafiński’s questionnaire (mainly from 1883), is stored in two Polish botanical institutions, with most data still unpublished [3136]. As the files of Rostafiński’s questionnaire are some of the most important ethnobotanical documents in Europe, enabling us to draw a detailed picture of the use of wild plants in Belarus at the end of the 19th century, we decided to devote a separate article to them. Our aim was to compare their content with the scattered modern data on wild food plants in Belarus.

Methods

Belarus as a study area

The state of Belarus is located in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 207 thousand km2 and a population of 9.5 mln (according to the 2012 census). The population density is relatively low (46 people / km2). Belarus is a landlocked lowland country with predominantly postglacial landform. Areas of sandy soils are mixed with clays, marshes and peat-bogs. The southern part of the country (Polesia region) is very marshy. A large proportion of the population (ca. two million) lives in the capital city, Minsk. Belarus is located in an area of humid continental climate. The forest vegetation is composed of both coniferous and deciduous species. Pinus sylvestris, Picea abies, Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula and Quercus robur are the dominant trees in the heavily wooded landscape (forest cover ca. 40%) [37]. The vascular flora of Belarus contains around 1860 species [38].

Belarus was one of the core parts of the Kievan Rus’. In medieval times it was a part of the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, then the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Later, at the end of the 18th century, through the partitions of the Commonwealth, it became part of the Russian Empire. After World War I, the territory of Belarus was divided between Poland and the Soviet Belarusian Republic (the latter within Soviet Union). In 1939, the Polish part of Belarus was annexed by the Soviet Union and merged with the Soviet Belarusian Republic. After World War II, most of the large Polish minority left Belarus (now it constitutes only 3% of the population). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it became an independent state in 1991. At the moment the Belarusian nationality dominates in the population, however, two closely related languages are official: Russian and Belarusian, with the former dominating in cities. The main minorities are Russians, Poles and Ukrainians [3840].

Belarusian cuisine is dominated by potato dishes and bread. Dairy products and pastry dishes (i.e. dumplings) are also eaten on an everyday basis. Soups have been also a major part of dinner. Many dishes are made using fermented ingredients (sourdough bread, sourdough soups, lacto-fermented salads made from cabbage, cucumbers and tomatoes, fermented birch sap etc.) [41, 42].

Characteristics of Rostafiński’s questionnaire

Professor Józef Rostafiński (1850–1928), a Polish botanist from Kraków (Jagiellonian University), composed a 70-question questionnaire concerning all aspects of ethnobotany (traditional cultivated and wild foods, medicine, rituals, dyes etc.). The survey was called “Odezwa do nie botaników o zbieranie ludowych nazw roślin”, which translates as “An appeal to non-botanists to collect folk plant names”. In its largest version it included 70 questions concerning the use of plants, their cultivation, gathering and naming. It was published in 1883 in around 60 Polish language newspapers in Prussia, Austro-Hungary and Russia (at that time Poland was divided into these three empires). Rostafiński received a few hundred responses, which have been partly preserved up to the present and constitute probably the largest ethnobotanical survey of 19th century Europe. The known letters come from the years 1883–1909 (mainly 1883–84). Out of around two hundred authors who wrote to him, most sent him information concerning the contemporary territory of Poland. However, several of them reported the use of plants in the present territory of Belarus and western Ukraine, for historical reasons, as a large proportion of intelligentsia and landowners (typical of Rostafiński’s respondents) in these countries were either Polish or Polonized. In their letters they mostly referred to plants grown or cultivated by peasants, though sometimes they also supplied details on the plants used in manors [3136].

Responses to Rostafiński were only partly used by their owner and remained, forgotten, in the Jagiellonian University for decades. They were “discovered” at the end of the 20th century on the premises of the Institute of Botany and are stored in the Museum of the Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University [3136]. Twelve of them contain information on the present Belarus and were analyzed in this paper (Table 1). Most of the information contained in them and the original text have not been published, apart from scattered notes on the use of some species (Heracleum and Aegopodium – [8, 36], tree saps – [8, 36, 43]). The correspondence with one respondent, Maria Twardowska, was characterized in a separate paper [31].
Table 1

Characteristics of Rostafiński’s respondents and the location of places they wrote about

Place for which information was given (the present Belarusian name given in brackets)

Region or county

Code

Surname, First name

Biographical information

Materials stored in the Museum of the Botanic Garden of the Jagiellonian University, ul. Kopernika 27, Kraków

Nieśwież, Słuck and Mińsk

Mińsk (Minsk)

CZA

Czarnocka, Helena

landowner, sent her letters from Secieszyn (Kleck train stop, Minsk gubernya)

(Nyasvizh, Sluck, Minsk)

    

Jeziora (Azyory)

Grodno (Hrodna)

KOR

Korycińska, Aleksandra

no data; wrote her letter from Warsaw, passing on information from her friends

Bobrzyńsk near Bobrujsk (now Babruysk) and surrounding counties

Mohylew (Mohilew)

LAS

Laskarys, Antonina z Zabiełłów

(1835 in Vilnius - ?), landowner [44]

Naliboki

Mińsk (Minsk)

LES

Łęski, Michał

landowner from Chotów

Puków

Ihumeń (Chervyen’)

NAR

Narkiewicz-Jodko, Tomasz

(ok. 1840 -?), landowner (Puków estate in Minsk gubernya)

Pińsk and around (Pinsk)

Pińsk (Pinsk)

ONU

Onufrowicz, Adam

(1856–1914), studied at the Institute of Mining in St. Petersburg and the Technical Academy in Kraków, taught in polytechnics in Austro-Hungary and Russia. He was the main director of a factory in Kysztyma [45]

Kuchcice and Chołuj

Ihumeń (Chervyen’)

OSS

Ossowski, Antoni

no data

Rawonicze

Ihumeń (Chervyen’)

SLO

Słotwińska, J

no data

whole counties

Pińsk, Mozyrz, Rzeczyca (Pinsk, Mazyr, Rechytsa)

SLO

Słotwińska, J

 

Weleśnica

Pińsk (Pinsk)

TWA

Twardowska, Maria

(1858–1907), botanist (florist), authored several publications on the flora of the Vilnius region and Polesia [4648]

n.d.

Pińsk (Pinsk)

NIE

Nielubowicz, W.

landowner

Nowogródek (Navahrudak)

Grodno (Hrodna)

DYB

Dybowski, Władysław

(1838–1910), zoologist and botanist, master of mineralogy (1873), privatdozent of general paleontology in the university of Dorpat (now Tartu) (1876); when he responded to Rostafiński he was leasing an estate in Niańków near Nowogródek [49]

Lipów

Rzeczyca (Rechytsa)

WOJ

Woyniłłowiczówna, Jadwiga

no data

Manuscript and herbarium stored in the Herbarium of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Warsaw, Al. Ujazdowskie 4, Warsaw

whole counties

Wołkowysk, Słonim, Prużany

FED

Federowski, Michał

(1853–1923), amateur ethnographer, the leading researcher of Belarusian verbal and musical folklore; worked on manorial estates, gathered many volumes of data on Belarusian folklore, e.g. [18]; lived in the presen territory of Belarus for most of the time between 1877and World War I; he wrote his answer to Rostafiński’s quest. from Studerowszczyzna

 

(Vawkavysk, Slonim, Pruzhany)

   
 

Vileyka

FED2

Federowski, Michał

 

All the letters were written in 1883, apart from Korycińska (1884).

Apart from them, in 2012, another response to Rostafiński’s questionnaire was found by one of the co-authors of this article (M.G.) in the herbarium of the Warsaw University. This never-sent response belongs to Michał Federowski vel Fedorowski (an ethnographer working in Belarus mentioned in the Background section of this article). It contains a separate folder with responses to Rostafiński’s questionnaire titled “Rośliny użyteczne u ludu litewskiego okolic Słonima, Wołkowyska i Prużanny. Zeszyt I. Zebrał i opisał Michał Fedorowski” (i.e. “Useful plants of Lithuanian peasants in the area of Słonim, Wołkowysk and Prużanna. Volume I. Collected and described by Michał Fedorowski”), including an appendix describing the use of forest trees in this area and a herbarium documenting the plants mentioned in the text, as well as another file, which is a previously unknown part of Federowski’s herbarium of medicinal plants documenting his chapter in “Lud Białoruski” [18] (“Zioła lecznicze używane przez lud litewski w okolicach Wołkowyska i Słonima z dodatkiem roślin w gusłach i czarach zastosowanie mających. Zeszyt II. Zebrał i opisał Michał Fedorowski”, i.e. “Medicinal herbs used by Lithuanian peasants in the area of Wołkowysk and Słonim with the addition of plants used in superstitions and magic. Volume II. Collected and described by Michał Fedorowski”; the other two parts have been deposited in the library of Warsaw University). “Lud Białoruski”, as its author stated, contains material gathered between 1879 and 1891, but the date of the manuscript is “November 1883” (straight after the publication of Rostafińki’s questionnaire). It is not sure if Federowski ever thought of sending the materials to Rostafiński. It is also possible that he found his questionnaire a useful framework for his own work. This part of the herbarium, concerning non-medicinal uses must have been assembled from the plants he had dried earlier.

Rostafiński’s questionnaire included several questions concerning the use of wild food plants:

“6) Is ber [Setaria italica] grown? do people gather wild ber and other wild grasses, particularly:

7) manna, mielec [both refer to Glyceria], stokłosa [Bromus], in what quantities, do people use it themselves or bring it to town market?

21) Do people know (at least from tradition) the names kucmerka and słodyczka? [the question referred to old names of Sium sisarum, but yielded answers for the use of Stachys palustris and Polypodium vulgare, for details see [50].

23) Do local people gather herbs in spring to be used in soups, particularly in famine years, and these herbs are?”.

This is followed by questions 24–33, in which he asks if people know the names of particular plants. These seem like continuations of question 23, as most of the listed plants are green vegetables: Urtica (as pokrzywa, żegawka) and Glechoma (as kurdybanek, bluszczyk) – no. 25, Rumex and Oxalis (as szczaw, zajęcza kapusta) - no. 26, Heracleum (as barszcz “plant” – to differentiate it from the soup also called barszcz) – no. 27, Aegopodium podagraria (as gir, girz in no. 28, and śnitka in no. 32) and Artemisia abrotanum [as Boże drzewko] “or other plants fried with butter”. In the responses to these names people usually reported not only local names but also the way these species were eaten.

And further:

“34) Salads and herbs eaten raw, which [plants]?

43) What do the names wiśnie [sour cherry], trześnie [wild sweet cherry], czeremchy [chokecherry] mean in a given place?

44) Is the name dracz known for barberry? What berries do people know and under what names: a) raspberry-type composed fruit: pink like raspberry or dark blue, shiny like plums (blackberry), b) currants, red and black with stinking leaves, c) gooseberry, d) strawberry, e) small undershrubs with shiny leaves and round berries, red (brusznice, kamionki) or black (borówki and łohynie vel pijanice), f) with more oblong berries[,] cranberries, Cornelian cherry? Or other names?

50) Are nigella, coriander, dill, fennel, anise and caraway cultivated in manor gardens? [although these are mainly cultivated species, the question yielded answers on the use of wild caraway]

48) Do people buy culinary oil or make it themselves? From what? Flax? Cannabis? Poppy (grey or white), sunflower, rape? Or from traditionally used ingredients? [some of the answers concerned wild taxa]”

We also extracted information on wild food plants from the remainder of the letters sent in response to Rostafiński, sometimes in the form of digressions or loose observations.

Thirteen responses to Rostafiński’s questionnaire were analyzed (including the Federowski’s materials). The information contained in them comes from many places in Belarus: from the south and south-east (Polesia), west (Hrodna, Vawkavysk, Pruzhany, Slonim), central part (e.g. Minsk and Ihumen’/Chyerven’), and north (Vileyka) (Figure 1). In many cases the respondents supplied Latin names of the plants they mentioned. Federowski additionally provided voucher specimens for most of the plants he reported (Figure 2). For nearly every plant he also provided a separate note on its use and, separately, the Belarusian peasant name and the name used by the Polish szlachta zaściankowa (i.e. poorer mainly Polish landowners of noble origin), who often farmed the land themselves but held Polish aristocratic titles and coats of arms. The north-western part of Belarus which Federowski studied was a nearly equal mixture of these two social and ethnic groups.
https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-9-21/MediaObjects/13002_2013_Article_321_Fig1_HTML.jpg
Figure 1

The location of information on plant uses, in most cases county towns, are marked but the information concerns the whole county.

https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-9-21/MediaObjects/13002_2013_Article_321_Fig2_HTML.jpg
Figure 2

The first page of Federowski’s herbarium.

20th and 21st century data

In order to relate the data from Rostafiński’s questionnaire to the present-day use of plants in Belarus, we tried to gather the scattered data on the use of wild food plants in the 20th and 21st centuries:

  • One of the authors (T.G), in 2010 and 2011, interviewed middle-aged and elderly women (aged 45–85) about the use of all food plants (from three locations: the Minsk agglomeration (n = 19), the village of Katka (in the Mohilev region, n = 10) and the village Galyenchitsy (near Ivatsyevichi, in the Brest region, n = 1), as a part of a bachelor’s thesis supervised by another co-author (A.P.), who also took part in some of the interviews.

  • The list of plants was extended by interviews and questionnaires supplied by E.P. (n = 10), carried out in 2010–12. This includes five lists of traditional wild food compiled by Belarusian botanists (based on their autobiographical observations from their home places): Dr Oleg Sosinov, associate professor in the Faculty of Botany, University of Hrodna, information from: Kapyl’ county (Minsk region) and Hrodna county, Dr Alla Aleksandrovna Pogodzkaya, Faculty of Pharmacognosy, Vitebsk State Medical University, (info from Homyel’ region), three botanists from the Belarusian Bielovyezhskaya Pushcha National Park; two with E.P.’s elderly family members came from the villages around Hlybokaye (Vitebsk region) and three interviews carried out in the Bryest and Hrodna regions by E.P.’s students of Belarusian origin (carried out with their own elderly family members).

  • Information from two 20th century publications containing data on wild food plant use in southern Belarus (Polesia) [17, 5153].

  • Retrospectives of settlers who moved from Belarus to Poland after World War II (in the questionnaires of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas from 1948 and 1964–69, for the characteristics of this source see [8]).

  • Archives of the Polish ethnographer Adam Fischer stored in the library of the Polish Folklorist Society in Wrocław were searched for material concerning Belarus; five notes on the use of plants were found, three from Narbutowszczyzna near Oszmiana (now Ashmyany), based on herbarium specimens sent by Zofia Koczorowska to Fischer, probably in the 1920-30s, the note on Acorus comes from the Lida area and the note on Prunella from Antyczkowo, near Oszmiana).

  • A Belarusian Internet culinary forums was searched in order to find out which of the listed plants are still a part of everyday culture (not included in Table 2).

  • An additional source of comparison (not included in Table 2) was data on plant use in Belarusian villages in NE Poland, adjacent to the border with Belarus, from over two hundred interviews carried out by one of the co-authors (E.P.) [54, 55].

Table 2

Contemporary use of wild food plants (20-21th century)

 

Modern local name (transliterated from Cyrillic apart from Polish names following Polish orthography (marked PL)

Part

20th – 21th century use

Source

Acer platanoides L.

klyon, yavor

leaves

leaves under baking bread

EP

Acorus calamus L.

ayer (also PL), air, babki

leaves, shoot center

leaves under baking bread, formerly; shoots formerly as a spring snack

[51], EP, FS

Aegopodium podagraria L.

snitka

leaves

soup

EP

Allium sp. ?

PL: dziki czosnek

leaves

spice

EP

Allium ursinum L.

cheremsha

leaves

raw

EP

Aquilegia vulgaris L.

vodosbor

nectar

raw children’s snack

EP

Armoracia rusticana G.Gaertn., B.Mey. & Schreb

khren

roots and leaves

roots – grated into a spicy paste called kren or added to dishes as spice, leaves as spice for fermented sauerkraut, cucumbers and tomatoes, and soups

TG, EP

Artemisia absinthium L.

polyn'

leaves

herbal teas

EP

Berberis vulgaris L.

n.d.

fruit

raw, snack, juice or salted

EP

Betula spp.

byeryoza

sap

fresh and fermented (such drink is called byarozavik)

TG, EP, PAE

  

wood shavings

“eaten” (probably added to bread as famine food)

FS

Carum carvi L.

tmin, kmin

fruits

spice for bread and sauerkraut

TG, EP

Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert

n.d.

inflorescences

herbal tea

EP

Chenopodium album L.

labadá (mistakenly as Atriplex), PL: lebioda

leaves

formerly in soups

[51], FS

Corylus avellana L.

oryekh, aryekh, aryéshnik, lyeshina,

fruits

mainly raw

[17, 51], EP

Crataegus sp.

boyáryshnik

fruits (“jablochki”)

fresh and in jams, wine

TG, EP

Dactylis glomerata L.

yezha

stalk

inner part as a snack

EP

Fragaria spp., mainly F. vesca L.

sunítsa, zyemlyanika

fruits

raw, jams, wine etc., formerly also eaten with milk and cream

[17, 51], EP

Glyceria fluitans (L.) R.Br.

manna, máyna

grains

used until late 1940s to make kasha

[17, 52, 53], PAE

Hippophaë rhamnoides L. *

oblyepikha

fruits

fresh, juice, jams

TG

Humulus lupulus L.

khmyel'

fruits

formerly dried, spice for beer and mead and added to bread dough

[17, 51], EP

Juniperus communis L.

n.d.

pseudo-fruits

raw children’s snack, spice for food and alcoholic beverages

EP

Lamium album L.

n.d.

nectar

raw children’s snack

EP

Linaria vulgaris L.

l’vinyy zyev

nectar

raw children’s snack

EP

Lotus corniculatus L.

miadunka

nectar from flowers

raw children’s snack

EP

Malus sylvestris Miller or Malus domestica Borkh.

yáblyki

fruits

eaten raw, dried, lactofermented in sauerkraut or boiled

[17, 51]

Malva pusilla Sm.

yagodki

immature fruits

raw children’s snack

EP

Nymphaea alba L.

mákowka (for fruits), húski (for the plant)

seeds

raw as a snack

[17]

Oxalis acetosella L.

zayacha kapusta, záyachy shchavyel', zayach’ya kapusta, kislitsa

leaves

raw children’s snack, formerly sometimes used for soups

[51], EP

Pinus sylvestris L.

sasná

resin(1), young shoots(2)

raw children’s snack(1), famine food(2)

EP

Plantago lanceolata L.

n.d.

leaves

salads

EP

Poa pratensis L.

travka

young shoots

raw children’s snack

EP

Polygonum bistorta L. (syn. Bistorta major S. E. Gray)

PL: wężownik

leaves

eaten with bread during World War I

FS

Prunella vulgaris L. (?)

PL: czemborek

aerial parts

infusion drunk as everyday drink

FS

– uncertain identification, the folk name suggests it could also be Thymus sp.

    

Prunus cerasifera Ehrh.*

alychá

fruits

fresh and in jams

TG, EP

Prunus spinosa L.

n.d.

fruits

spice for alcohol, raw snack

EP

Pulmonaria officinalis L. cf ssp. obscura (Dumort.) Murb. (syn. P. obscura Dumort.)

myedunitsa

flowers

fresh nectar as a snack and made into herbal teas

TG, EP

Pyrus pyraster L.

hróshka, hrúsha, ihrúshka, grush́a lyesnáya

fruits

raw or in boiled dishes, formerly fermented in water and sugar

[17, 51], TG

Quercus robur L.

dub

leaves and bark

formerly under baking bread

[51], EP

Ribes nigrum L.

smoródina chyérnaya

fruits, twig and leaves

fruits – fresh or dried; twigs – decoction; leaves as spice for fermented sauerkraut, cucumbers and tomatoes

TG, EP

Ribes uva-crispa L.

kryzhóvnik

fruits

fresh

 

Robinia pseudoacacia L.

n.d.

flowers

formerly raw snack

EP

Rosa canina L. and other spp.

shipóvnik sobáchyy

fruits

fresh and in jams, wine and herbal tea

TG, EP

Rubus caesius L.

yezhevika

fruits

raw

EP

Rubus chamaemorus L.

struzhýna

fruits

raw

[51]

Rubus idaeus L.

malína

fruits

fresh, jam, formerly dried as medicine inducing sweating

[17, 51], TG, EP

Rubus saxatilis L.

kamyenítsa, kostyanika

fruits

raw

[17], EP

Rubus subgenus Rubus

azhýna, ozhýna, stryzhýna

fruits

mainly raw due to low abundance, sometimes in wine and hot desserts

[17, 51], EP

Rumex acetosa L.

shchavyél’, shchavyey

leaves

sour soup called borshch

[17, 51], TG, EP, PAE

Rumex acetosella L.

verabyóvy shchavyél’

leaves

sour soup called borshch

[51]

Rumex confertus Willd.

shchavyey

leaves

soup

EP

Sambucus nigra L.

n.d.

fruit

juice, wines, rarely also raw

EP

Sorbus aucuparia L.

ryabína, rabina

fruits

mainly jam from frozen fruits, also raw as children’s snack and in herbal infusion or as spice

TG, EP; according to [17] was regarded as poisonous in Polesia

Sorbus intermedia (Ehrh.) Pers.

n.d.

fruits

gathered from city greenery in Minsk for preserves

TG

Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

zvyezdchátka, makritsa

leaves

fresh in salads, squeezed into juice

TG

Syringa vulgaris L. *

siryen’

nectar from flowers

raw children’s snack

EP

Taraxacum sp.

n.d.

nectar from flowers, leaves

raw snack, leaves also in salads

EP

Thymus spp.

n.d.

flowering tops

herbal infusion, spice for alcohol

EP

Tilia cordata Mill.

lípa

flowers, leaves

nectar and leaves as children’s snack, infusion from flowers as beverage

TG, EP

Trifolium spp., mainly T. pratense L.

klyevyer, trilistnik

nectar from flowers

raw children’s snack

EP

Urtica dioica L. and U. urens L.

krapiva, PL: pokrzywa

aerial parts

potherb, now rarely; formerly also sour soups

[51], EP, FS

Vaccinium myrtillus L.

chernítsa, charnítsa, chyerníka,

fruits and leaves

fruits– fresh, jams and juice, or in milk soups, leaves as spice for fermented sauerkraut, cucumbers and tomatoes; the most widely gathered wild fruits in Belarus

[17, 51], TG, EP, PAE

Vaccinium oxycoccos L.

klyúkva, klukva, zhuravína

fruits

fresh, jam, kisel, juice, formerly also added to suaerkraut

[17, 51], TG, EP. PAE

Vaccinium uliginosum L.

lohynya, buyakí, golubika; PL: pijanica

fruits

raw, in many places considered inedible

[51], EP

Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.

brushnítsa, brus’nítsa, brusnika

fruits

raw or jam

[17, 51], EP, PAE

Viburnum opulus L.

kalína

fruits

jams, boiled in kisyel’, raw – after drying

[17, 51], TG

Viola tricolor L.

n.d.

aerial parts

herbal tea

EP

* a non-native cultivated species also collected from the populations escaped from cultivation.

EP Ewa Pirożnikow’s questionnaires from Belarusian respondents (mainly botanists); TG Tanya Gervasi’s field interviews; PAE Data from the Polish Ethnographic Atlas – retrospectives of Poles resettled from Belarus in the 1940s; FS Adam Fischer’s archives (Polish Folklorist Society, Wrocław).

The contemporary data are presented using transliteration of the Cyrillic alphabet for Belarusian/Russian names and using the official Polish orthography for Polish names. Belarusian plant names and contemporary geographical names were Romanized using the BGN/PCGN standard used by the United States Board on Geographic Names and by the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use [56].

Results

Fifty-eight identified botanical species were mentioned altogether by Rostafiński’s respondents from Belarus. Five taxa remained unidentified (Table 3). The largest category is composed of the green parts of plants (27 species), which were usually consumed in the form of soups (23 species). Two kinds of soups were distinguished: sour (kisla vara) and non-sour (presna vara). The first was made by leaving the ingredients to ferment for a few days or by adding acidic ingredients. Sorrel (Rumex spp.), ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) and hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium s.l.) were used in sour soups. Nettle (Urtica spp.) and fat hen (Chenopodium album) were, according to Federowski, made into non-sour soups, though other data suggest that sometimes they occurred in sour soups as well and that this division is not very sharp. Sorrel was sour by itself, whereas hogweed was probably lacto-fermented. Soured birch and maple sap were also added to wild vegetable soups (e.g. with ground elder) to make them sour. According to Federowski one of the wild vegetables were commonly dried for winter use. Apart from the wild plants his herbarium also contains two cultivated species (thus not included in Table 2) eaten raw as salads: Borago officinalis L. (voucher specimen 21; hurecznik, ahurecznik/ogórecznik eaten with cream and salt) and Tropaeolum majus L. (22; nastulek, nastulka, flowers eaten with cultivated lettuce). He also mentions the raw use of some wild lettuce called zieziulina sałata, but does not provide a specimen.
Table 3

Wild food plants used in Belarus according to Rostafiński’s respondents

Scientific name

Rel.

Local name in 19th c.

Part used

Use

Vo.

Letter****

  

Names used by Poles marked with PL

    

Acer platanoides L.

H

klon

sap

fresh or added to sour soups

50

FED, WOJ

Acorus calamus L.

L

ajer, tatarak

leaves

leaves added under baking bread (which was supposed to have carminative properties as well)

 

LAS

Aegopodium podagraria L.

H

śnitka, snitka, sznitka, śniatka, PL: śnitka

aerial parts

soups, sour and non-sour, potherb, rarely dried for winter use

4

CZA, DYB, FED, KOR, LAS, LES, NAR, OSS, SLO, TWA, WOJ

Allium sp. ?

N

PL: czosnek dziki

n.d.

n.d.

 

LAS

Anchusa arvensis (L.) M.Bieb.

H

padasocik, PL: podosocik

aerial parts

non-sour soups

11

FED

Anethum graveolens L. (?)

N

kopr

aerial parts

spice

 

LES

Armoracia rusticana G.Gaertn., B.Mey. & Schreb

O

chrin, PL: chrzan

n.d.

so obvious that use not given, only one author wrote about salad with vinegar

 

(LAS, LES, NAR, NIE, OSS, TWA,WOJ)

Berberis vulgaris L.

N

berberys (also PL)

fruits

raw

 

FED

Betula spp.

H

bereza, bieroza, PL: brzoza

sap

fresh, added to sour soups, fermented into a refreshing drink with dried apples, bread rinds and oak bark, or sugar

45

FED, NIE, WOJ

Carum carvi L.

L

kmin

fruits

spice for bread, sauerkraut, fresh cheese, spirits

 

CZA, DYB, FED, OSS, SLO, WOJ, (LAS, ONU)

Centaurea cyanus L.

H

wałoszka, PL: wołoszka, włoszka, bławatki

very young shoots

non-sour soups

9

FED, KOR

Chenopodium album L.

H

lebieda, PL: lebioda

aerial parts

non-sour soups, dried for winter use

14

FED, KOR, CZA, ONU, OSS, WOJ, (TWA)

Cirisum arvense (L.) Scop.

H

asot, PL: oset

aerial parts

non-sour soups

10

FED

Convolvulus arvenis L.

H

bierozka,PL: bierozka, brzózka

aerial parts

non-sour soups

7

FED

Corylus avellana L.

H

harieszyna; PL: orzechy, orzeszyna, leszczyna

fruits

n.d.

48

FED, LAS

Fallopia convolvulus (L.) Á.Löve

H

podbierozka (also PL)

aerial parts

non-sour soups

8

FED

Fragaria spp., mainly F. vesca L.

H

sunicy, paziomki, poziemi, sunyca, PL: poziomki

fruits

raw

26

FED, OSS, (LAS, NIE, WOJ)

Glyceria fluitans (L.) R.Br. and most likely other related Glyceria species

L

manna (also PL), majńo

grains

made into groat (kasha), mainly boiled in milk, sold in the market of Pińsk, in many places stopped being used in the 1850-60s

 

FED, LAS, NIE, ONU, OSS, SLO, TWA, WOJ

(in the letters as Glyceria and Glyceria fluitans)

      

Helianthus tuberosus L.*

N/D

bulba, bulwa

bulbs

roasted or fried, mainly planted but one report says that it was very persistent and ”self-sowing”

 

(DYB, NAR, ONU, TWA, WOJ)

Heracleum sphondylium L.

H

borszcz, barszcz, barszczewnik, PL: borszcz, barszcz

 

sour soups, potherb, often dried for winter

19

CZA, DYB, FED, OSS, SLO, TWA, (LAS)

Lamium sp. or Pulmonaria sp.?

N

miedunka

aerial parts

potherb

 

CZA

Nymphaea alba L.

L

[grzybienie]

seeds

n.d.

 

NIE

Oxalis acetosella L.

H

zazulin szczawiej, PL: szczaw kukawki, szczaw zajęczy

leaves

sour soups

17

FED, (WOY)

Papaver somniferum L.*

L

samosiejka, widuk

seeds

“for ordinary use ”, i.e. bread and sweets

-

DYB

Plantago major L.

H

babka (also PL)

leaves

non-sour soups

6

FED2

Plantago sp.

L

tryputnik

leaves

sour soups, potherb

 

OSS, SLO

Polygonum aviculare L. or Plantago major L. ?

N

podorożnik

aerial parts

sour soup

 

OSS

Polygonum bistorta L. (syn. Bistorta major S. E. Gray)

H

oborocień, obaracień, oberek, ober, PL: ober

leaves, seeds

sour soup, seeds for flatbread, particularly in the 1855 famine

2

DYB, FED

Prunus padus L.

O

czeremcha czeremszyna, czeromcha, PL: czeremcha

fruits

n.d.

23**

FED

Prunus spinosa L.

L

PL: tarnina

fruits

n.d.

 

(LAS)

Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn

H

paporocień, paporotnik, PL: paproć

rhizomes

dried, ground and mixed with ordinary flour to make bread

1

FED2

Pyrus pyraster L.

L

PL: gruszki dziczki

fruits

raw and conserved

 

ONU

Quercus robur L.

O

dub

leaves

under baking bread (added also due to its carminative properties as well)

 

LAS

Ranunculus repens L.

H

padśnitnik, PL: podśnitnik

 

non-sour soups

5

FED

Raphanus raphanistrum L.

A

swierzepa, sweripa, świrzepa

leaves

soups, potherb

 

NIE, TWA

Ribes nigrum L.

N

smrodziny, smorodinka, smrodyna, PL: smrodziny, czarne porzeczki

fruits, leaves

fruits raw, leaves used in manors to make a fizzy drink and to make vodka taste “older” (NIE)

 

FED, NIE, WOJ, (LAS)

Ribes spicatum Robson

N/R

parieczki, PL: porzeczki

fruits

raw

 

FED

Ribes uva-crispa L.

L

jagrest, PL: agrest

fruits

raw

 

FED

Rosa sp.

O

PL: róża

flowers

formerly fried in batter, in a Polish manor, rare

 

SLO

Rubus idaeus L.

O

maliny (also PL), małyna

fruits

raw

 

FED, OSS, WOJ, (LAS, NIE)

Rubus nessensis W.Hall

D/R

jaryna

fruits

raw

 

WOJ

Rubus saxatilis L.

H

kościanicy, PL: kościanki

fruits

raw

28

FED

Rubus subgenus Rubus (probably mainly Rubus plicatus L., R. nessensis W.Hall and R. caesius L.)

H

ażyny, czornyje maliny, ożyna, PL: ożyny

fruits

raw

24

FED, WOJ, (NIE, LAS)

Rumex acetosa L.

H

szczawiej, PL: szczaw

leaves

sour soups

16

FED

Rumex crispus L.

H

karpacz (also PL)

leaves

sour soups

20

FED

Rumex sp. (probably mainly R. acetosa L.)

 

szczaw, szczawel

leaves and stalks

raw and in sour soups, as OSS put: “with kvas, whey, sweet or sour milk, butter milk, cream or pig fat (slonina) with vinegar”

 

NIE, OSS, ONU, SLO, (CZA)

Rumex thyrsiflorus Fing.

H

harabiniec, PL: szczaw polny

leaves

sour soups

18

FED

Sambucus nigra L.

N

PL: bez

flowers

formerly fried in batter, in a Polish manor, rare

 

SLO

Scirpus lacustris L.

L

[sitowie]

young stalks

raw

 

NIE

Silene vulgaris (Moecnch)Garcke

H

laskouka,PL: laskówka

aerial parts

non-sour soups, dried for winter use

12

FED

Silene vulgaris (?)

N

łuskawka

aerial parts

potherb

 

KOR

Sinapis arvensis L.

H

redźkouka, świerepa, PL: świrepa, świerżop

 

non-sour soups, dried for winter use

15

FED

Sinapis arvensis L. or Raphanus raphanistrum L.

N

świrzepa

leaves

soup or with kasha

 

ONU, (TWA)

Sorbus aucuparia L.

N

PL: jarzębina

fruits

raw after freezing

 

CZA

Stellaria media (L.) Vill.

H

makryca bieła, PL: mokrzyca biała

aerial parts

non-sour soups, dried for winter use

62***

FED

Trapa natans L.

L

PL: orzechy wodne

seeds

raw and boiled

 

NIE

Urtica spp. (3 records confirm U. dioica L. and 4 rec. – U. urens L.)

H

krapiwa, kropiwa, kropywa, życzka, żyszka, żyżka, prokywa, prokiwa, pokrzywka, krapiwa piekuszcza, U. urens also rzeszka, rzyczkaja krapiwa; PL: rzeszka, pokrzywa, U. urens also: żagawka, żegawka, rzeszka

aerial parts

non-sour and sour soups

U. urens - 3

CZA, DYB, FED, LAS, LES, NAR, ONU, OSS, TWA, WOJ, (SLO)

Vaccinium myrtillus L.

L/O

czarnica, czernyca, czernica, czarnicy, czornyje jahody, czerniec; PL: czernice, czarne jagody

fruits

raw, commonly dried; also boiled with milk into a kind of soup

27

DYB, FED, OSS, NIE, WOJ, (LAS)

Vaccinium oxycoccos L.

L/O

żurauliny, żurachwyna, PL: żurawiny, żórawiny

fruits

raw, stored for months in water, in manors made into kissel (with potato flour)

 

DYB, FED, OSS, NIE, WOJ, (LAS)

Vaccinium uliginosum L.

L/O

durnicy, bałabony, łochwaczi, PL: durnice

fruits

raw

 

FED, FED2, NIE, (LAS), whereas WOJ says that it is narcotic

Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.

L/O

brusznicy (also PL), bruśnica, brusznyca

fruits

raw, in manors made into jams and pickles

25

FED, OSS, WOJ, (DYB, LAS, NIE)

Veronica cf persica Poiret

H

makryca bieła, PL: mokrzyca biała

aerial parts

non-sour soups, dried for winter use

13, 62***

FED

Viola cf odorata L.

N

PL: fiołki

flowers

formerly fried in batter, in a Polish manor, rare

 

SLO

?

 

mirsik

aerial parts

soups

 

SLO

?

 

mrzyk

aerial parts

soups

 

SLO

?

 

opich

aerial parts

soups

 

SLO

?

 

saładucha, smaktucha, PL: sołoducha

aerial parts

non-sour soups

 

FED

?

 

zieziulina sałata

aerial parts

raw as salad (like lettuce)

 

FED

Rel. Reliability of identification (after [2]): H Confirmed by voucher specimen; O Obvious common name universally used over a large area; L Probable Latin name or scientific name used in the language of a given country, given by a non-botanist; N Determined using comparative analysis of folk names; R determined with the help of the data of a species range or/and habitat; D determined with the help of the verbal description.

* A non-native cultivated species also collected from the populations escaped from cultivation.

** The voucher specimen belongs to Euonymus europaea L., an obvious mistake.

*** The name makryca bieła seems to refer to both Stellaria media and Veronica cf persica Poiret. Although in the part of Federowski’s herbarium devoted to edible plants only Veronica occurs (no. 13), in the medicinal herbarium both taxa are put together under the same name (no. 62). As the two species often grow together and have a mild taste, and bearing in mind that Stellaria media is still called makryca in Belarus, we infer that both taxa were probably used.

**** Letter codes are created from the first three letters of the author’s name, full names are given in Table 1. Author codes given in brackets mean that the species was mentioned but it is not clear if it was used as food.

Vo Voucher specimen number given by Federowski.

The second largest category, 18 species, was made up of fleshy fruits. Fruits in 19th century Belarus were mainly eaten raw, as a few of Rostafiński’s respondents pointed out. Sometimes they were incorporated into dishes with milk or dough (soup, dumplings, kisiel/kisyel’). Only manors prepared more sophisticated wild fruit desserts containing sugar.

A few spices are also mentioned, such as the fruits of Carum carvi, roots of Armoracia rusticana or aromatic leaves put under baking bread (Quercus robur, Acorus calamus).

No underground wild plant organs were gathered apart from the already mentioned horseradish and bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) rhizomes used only in the Vileyka region: during bad harvest years dried bracken was pounded in a wooden mortar and mixed with rye flour into ordinary grain dishes.

Out of the species in the 19th century only 32 species have been reported as used in 20th or 21st century studies. In these modern studies, however, new plant taxa are reported as used, mainly children’s snacks or alien species of fruits. Altogether, we collected data on the culinary use of 67 taxa in the 20th and 21st centuries (Table 2, 3), which gives 93 edible taxa recorded at some point between 1883 and the present.

Discussion

We can assume that only some of the plants used in Belarus in the 19th century are used nowadays. For example, using Pteridium aquilinum rhizomes and Polygonum bistorta seeds as staples was already a curiosity by the end of the 19th century. Also the reported wide use of wild green vegetables has immensely decreased in Belarus, with the exception of the use of Rumex spp. to make a kind of sour soup, still an important part of Belarusian cuisine. Thus, a process similar to other eastern European countries has occurred in Belarus, where the use of most wild greens has ceased [612, 57] and the main edible plants used or remembered are fruits and children’s snacks (compare [6, 58]). Also, in contemporary internet culinary forums in Belarus, fruits are the dominant wild food category mentioned. The use of wild vegetables has decreased (Figure 3) in a similar manner among the Belarusian minority in NE Poland investigated by one of the co-authors of this article (E.P.), where many of the plants listed in this study are remembered mainly as old-time poverty food (e.g. Urtica spp., Chenopodium album, Aegopodium podagraria etc.).
https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2F1746-4269-9-21/MediaObjects/13002_2013_Article_321_Fig3_HTML.jpg
Figure 3

The relationships between the taxa recorded in Rostafiński’s questionnaire from 1883 (dotted line) and the 20th and 21st century data (solid line): while the number of wild greens genera used in soups decreased, the number of wild fruit genera used in nutrition increased.

Pietkiewicz, in his 1928 ethnographic monograph of a part of Polesia, mentioned only Urtica, Rumex, Oxalis and Atriplex (mistakenly for Chenopodium) as wild green vegetables used in food [51], whereas Moszyński, also in 1928 [17] did not even mention the use of any other greens apart from Rumex, although Rostafiński’s respondents, only 40 years before, mentioned more species used in that area.

The resilience of sorrel in Belarusian and other north and eastern European cuisines [612], i.e. the fact that it is still widely used, while other wild greens have declined so much, is mysterious. The most likely explanation is that it is appreciated due to its sour taste and smooth texture. The sour taste has been highly appreciated in traditional eastern European cuisines and most sour foods are produced by lactic fermentation of pickling. Thus sorrel’s sour taste may have automatically placed it in the human realm of transformed food, even before it was cooked. Paraphrasing Lévi-Strauss’s division [59], instead of Raw versus Cooked (in the French original cru and cuit), we could say Raw versus Cooked/Sour. By belonging to the Sour/Cooked domain, sorrel was singled out from other wild vegetables.

The resilience of the contemporary use of wild fruits such as Rubus idaeus, Vaccinium spp. and Viburnum opulus in Belarus may be explained by cultural attachment to these species, which are perceived as “very healthy”. Selling Viburnum opulus fruits, for example, at the open markets of Minsk in September is still very popular, and most of the sellers and customers ascribed to the berries – which are sometime also consumed raw, as snacks – important preventative properties. In the 19th century Viburnum was not even reported as wild food, but rather as medicine. This reinforces the findings that the permanence of Traditional Plant Knowledge in the context of cultural changes may be directly related to the success of certain food plants, which are perceived as food-medicines, as, for example, other contemporary field ethnobotanical studies among migrants have demonstrated [60, 61].

The differences between the species eaten in the 19th century (Table 2) and contemporary uses (Table 3) do not only arise from the fact that the use of some species has ceased. Some species listed nowadays may have been used in the 19th century but the amount of observations (only from 13 respondents) was not enough to capture it. Also, the structure of Rostafiński’s questionnaire was very specific, he pre-suggested certain taxa, which he was particularly interested in, which may have slightly biased the information given. Children’s snacks reported in the contemporary data must have been collected in the 19th century, but were not recorded then. A similar situation occurred in Poland, when a questionnaire among botanists revealed a long list of minor children’s snacks, never noted before [62].

The commonness of drying wild vegetables for winter use in soups, observed by Federowski, is worth noting. Drying wild greens for human use as a preservation technique occurs in parts of China (see e.g. [63]) but has not been observed in Europe. The fact that these plants were preserved suggests that they had a high cultural status. It is even more puzzling, then, that their presence in contemporary Belarusian cuisine is so reduced.

Of course, it is possible that more in-depth studies in rural Belarus would confirm the survival of some uses. Moreover, a noteworthy phenomenon is the gathering of several recently established non-native taxa. Edible fruits such as Hippophaë rhamnoides, Prunus cerasifera and Sorbus intermedia, which are cultivated, are also gathered from wild locations (i. e. as garden escapees) or from populations planted as a part of town greenery. Also Rumex confertus is a recently spreading large-leaved sorrel species incorporated into cuisine, like native Rumex species.

As the use of wild vegetables was more common in Belarus in the 19th century than in Poland as observed by Moszyński, Federowski and a few other ethnographers, we can assume that even now we may find more vestiges of traditional plant use in this country, making it a promising arena for future ethnobotanical studies. Here we point out just a few of the ethnobotanical phenomena in Belarus which should be studied in detail:

  • The strong tradition of fermented dishes made from both cultivated plants like cucumbers, cabbage or tomatoes, as well as wild ingredients, e.g. mushrooms (mainly Lactarius spp.), birch sap or wild plants used as spices for fermentation (e.g. Quercus robur leaves, Ribes nigrum leaves);

  • The role of tree sap in traditional culture – as Belarus is the only country in Europe where the collection of tree sap is regulated by the state [43] and is extremely popular there;

  • The culinary use of marsh and water plants in the wetlands of Polesia (in the 19th century the use of Scirpus lacustris, Trapa natans and Nymphea alba was recorded in this area);

  • The level of preservation of the use of wild green vegetables.

The recorded wild food plant taxa constitute 5% of the country’s flora. It is lower than for Hungary – 7% [10], Estonia – 6% [9] and Poland – 5.5% [8] but higher than Slovakia – 3.5% [12]. However, the amount of data available from Belarus is lower than from the first three countries, which means that several taxa with minor importance in traditional nutrition could be yet to be discovered. The general structure of various use categories and the sequence of their disappearance from the contemporary diet, as well as some culinary vogues (like jam- making, in the 20th century) are astoundingly similar to those reported from other northern and eastern European countries [512, 58].

Conclusions

The responses to Rostafiński’s questionnaire from 1883 present extremely valuable historical material as the use of wild food plants in Belarus has since undergone drastic changes, similar to those, which have taken place in other Eastern European countries. Although most taxa reported in this study have been used in other Slavic countries, the local food culture preserved, at least up to the early 20th century, many archaic features, e.g. the wide use of lacto-fermented wild food plants, drying wild vegetables for winter etc. Further studies on the level of preservation of the uses of plants reported by Rostafiński’s respondents are needed.

Declarations

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Prof. Krzysztof Oklejewicz (University of Rzeszów) for his help in identifying some herbarium specimens.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Institute of Applied Biotechnology and Basic Sciences, Department of Botany and Biotechnology of Economic Plants, University of Rzeszów
(2)
Institute of Botany, The Jagiellonian University
(3)
Department of Botany, Institute of Biology, University of Białystok
(4)
Herbarium of the Institute of Botany of the University of Warsaw, University of Warsaw
(5)
University of Gastronomic Sciences

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