ISSN: 2455-815X
International Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Technology
Review Article       Open Access      Peer-Reviewed

Importance of edible wild plants in world food security: The case of Turkey

Sefa Akbulut*

Department of Forest Engineering, Faculty of Forestry, Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey
*Corresponding author: Sefa Akbulut, Associate Professor, Department of Forest Engineering, Faculty of Forestry, Karadeniz Technical University, 61080, Trabzon, Turkey, Tel: +904623772841; Fax: +904623257499; E-mail:;
Received: 25 July, 2022 | Accepted: 02 August, 2022 | Published: 03 August, 2022
Keywords: Ethnobotany; Edible plants; Food security; Turkey

Cite this as

Akbulut S (2022) Importance of edible wild plants in world food security: The case of Turkey. Int J Agric Sc Food Technol 8(3): 209-213. DOI: 10.17352/2455-815X.000165

Copyright License

© 2022 Akbulut S. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Production in industrial agriculture is under threat in the near future due to air pollution, excessive consumption, and climate change. Commercial production of traditional products is significant for the continuity of product diversity. Edible wild plants are usually collected from the wild and consumed for local needs. However, there are not enough initiatives for the cultivation of these plants. Turkey, which is very rich in point of biological diversity, is among the lucky countries in this regard. An important part of approximately 12000 plants in its flora is consumed as a food source by traditional methods. In this study, a list of 76 plants belonging to 34 families that are widely consumed for food purposes in Turkey is given.


Turkey is one of the countries with the richest plant biodiversity among its neighbors with approximately 12000 plant taxa including 3649 endemic wild plants, and exotic, and agricultural plants [1]. A significant part of these plants is used in traditional medicine. However, it has different ethnobotanical uses such as food, spice and tea [2].

Edible wild plants in Turkey are generally collected from the wild and consumed directly or sold in local and sometimes regional markets. Inventory of edible wild plants has gained more importance in recent years in terms of world food security. Although the use of these plants is regional, it has started to be traded today [3]. The interest in nature-oriented life was also a factor in this. As an alternative to industrial kitchen products, wild plants have started to take place more in Turkish cuisine as raw or cooked. It has been stated that edible wild plants can be an important source of income for local communities as well as a good source of food [4].

Edible wild plants in Turkey

Ethnobotanical studies conducted in Turkey, it has been revealed that wild plants are frequently used for food purposes with various methods [4-16]. Edible wild plants are mostly consumed by rural people. However, in recent years, the desire for natural nutrition has increased the sales of these plants in local markets. In parallel, it has been observed that trial gardens for the cultivation and production of wild plants have been established on a regional basis in order to fill the gap in the market [17].

In Table 1, a list of the most widely used edible wild plants in Turkey has been created. Local names and used parts of 76 plant taxa belonging to 34 families were also added.


Although Turkey’s biological diversity is rich, it can be said that it is still at the beginning of the evaluation phase. This wealth, which is usually expressed in numbers, is recorded only through ethnobotanical studies. Very few edible wild plants are cultivated, especially in the country where the current agricultural lands and pastures are not evaluated efficiently due to wrong agricultural policies. Although the inventory studies are sufficient, there are not enough initiatives on the necessary training, infrastructure establishment, and market research. Turkey, which has seven geographical regions, also shows continental climate, Mediterranean climate, Black Sea climate, desert climate, and many macroclimatic features. Different vegetation types such as forest vegetation, steppe vegetation, stream vegetation, dune vegetation, alpine vegetation, and maquis vegetation are an indication that it is the main source of wild plant reserve that will adapt to possible climate changes. Therefore, Turkey will be the sustainable production center of many cereal crops, agricultural crops, and orchards in the future.

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