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Table 5 Local names of medicinal plants and their meaning (S–Silti; G–Guragigna; M–Mareqo; Q–Qebena), “*”–endemic

From: Medicinal plant use practice in four ethnic communities (Gurage, Mareqo, Qebena, and Silti), south central Ethiopia

Scientific name [Family]

Local name

Direct meaning of the local name in English

Meaning reflecting

Acacia abyssinica Hochst. ex Benth. [Fabaceae]

Teme-gerar (S, G)

Black acacia

Trunk color

Acacia seyal Del. [Fabaceae]

Wacho-gerar (S, G)

Red acacia

Trunk color

Ajuga integrifolia Buch-Ham. [Lamiaceae]

Anamuro, ema telit (G)

Makes an infant hate breast feeding, used purposefully to stop breast feeding

Bitter taste

Aloe pubescens Reyonolds. [Aloaceae]*

Merdedeye (G)

Saw like (a tool with toothed blade)

Marginal teeth of the leaf

Artemisia abyssinica Sch. Bip. ex A. Rich. [Asteraceae]

Chiyanchiye (G)

Bad smell

Leaves with bad smell

Brucea antidysenterica J. F .Mill. [Simaroubaceae]

Yemoyet bosha (G)

Leaves of moyet (a social group known to exist in Gurage) that is used during cultural ceremony

Ceremonial use

Clematis simensis Fresen. [Ranunculaceae]

Yegawa wedero (G)

Fool’s rope

Climber growth form

Convolvulus sagittatus Thunb. [Convolvulaceae]

Minen debo (M)


Medicinal use

Crotalaria incana L. [Fabaceae]

Meza qutel (G)

Leave for wound

Medicinal use

Cucumis ficifolius A. Rich. [Cucurbitaceae]

Hulgerecho (M), Adene debaqula (Q), Yemeder qimbiba, Yafer-granger (G), Yale-tay (S)

Monkey’s genital organ (Q); Fruits running on the ground (G),

Fruit shape and growth form/arrangement

Cynoglossum coeruleum Hochst. ex A.DC. [Boraginaceae]

Yitebtiye (G), Bertetusa (Q), Hatemaqo (Q, S)


The sticky nature of the fruits

Cyphostemma niveum (Hochst. Ex Schweinf.) Desc. [Vitaceae]

Yeseb eje (G)

Human hand

Leaf shape

Foeniculum vulgare Miller [Apiaceae]

Wet-ambo (G)


Stems hollow when mature

Fuerstia africana T.C.E. Fr. [Lamiaceae]

Yegiye insosla (G), Nazoli (S), Hureda (M)

Insosla (Impatiens tinctoria) which is a dark red dye extracted from the tubers used as beauty treatment, Fuerstia africana is called for dog’s which is not similar to above mentioned species (G)

Color of the red juice squeezed from the leaves

Haplocarpha schimperi (Sch. Bip.) Beauv. [Asteraceae]

Ayene beda (G)

Takes the eyes

Poisonous to the eyes

Pavonia urens Cav. [Malvaceae]

Menatef (G)

Trigger vomiting when feeling sick

Medicinal use

Polygala sadebeckiana Gurke [Polygalaceae]

Shime-itere chiza(G), Shime yeter zebo (Q), Qiteriye(G)

Local name of antrax/blackleg (G, Q); Finger like (G)

Medicinal use, root structure

Plantago lanceolata L. [Plantaginaceae]

Yefur enzir (G)

Rat’s ear

Leaf shape

Rhoicissus tridentata (L. f.) Wild & Drummond [Vitaceae]

Yegawa wedero (G), dubi fizuta (Q)

Fool’s rope

Climbing nature

Rhynchosia minima (L.) DC. [Fabaceae]

Yefur enzir (G)

Rat’s era

Leaf shape

Thunbergia ruspolii Lindau [Acanthaceae]*

Yangacha qomet (G)

Cat’s Lagenaria siceraria

Resemble fruit and flower (corolla) shape of Lagenaria siceraria

Verbascum sinaiticum Benth. [Scrophulariaceae]

Yemar enzir (G), Huleten huta (M), Yumar amel ( S)

Donkey’s ear

Leaf shape

Xanthium strumarium L. [Asteraceae]

Yetey-soohe (G), Gereba uta (M)

Sheep’s spine

Sticky nature of the fruit, usually seen sticking on sheep’s fur