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Edible Weeds in Morocco

Authors:

Abstract

Morocco has a large number of edible weeds, but seventeen are mostly eaten by the population, collected for sale in different provinces, or even exported. Eight weeds have edible shoots while the others have edible stems, fruits, roots, flowers, or petioles. Thirteen weed species are marketed either seasonally or throughout the year and generate money for the people. Morocco's tassel grapehyacinth bulbs and products extracted from pennyroyal mint are exported. Further research should focus on the nutritive value of these weeds and their economic role in the country.
Edible
Weeds in Morocco1
ABBES
TANJI
and
FATIMA
NASSIF
Abstract.
Morocco has a large number of edible weeds, but seventeen are mostly
eaten
by the
population, collected for sale in different provinces, or even exported.
Eight
weeds have edible
shoots
while
the
others
have edible stems, fruits, roots,
flowers,
or
petioles.
Thirteen
weed species are marketed
either seasonall y or
throughout
the
year
and
generate
money for the people. Morocco's tassel grapehyac-
inth
bulb s and products extracted from pennyroyal mint are exported. Further research should focus on
the nutritive value of
these
weeds and their economic role in the country.
Additional
inde x words:
Food,
collection,
sale, export.
Introduction
The
composite
list
of weeds in Morocco cites 838
species, subspecies, and varieties
(2).
Despite the negative
effects of
these
plants on cultivated crops, some of them
are use d by the population for therapeutic
treatments
(3,
15)
and for food. Moreover, weeds constitute a source of
income fo r an increasing number of
people
in the country
who
collect,
sell,
and process
these
plants.
The
present
note
examines the commonly edible weeds
in
Morocco,
their e#en parts,
and
the different seasons they
are mostly
available
on the market.
Botanical
Characterization
Morocco has a large number of edible weeds, but sev-
enteen
are mostly
eaten
by the population
(Table
1).
Some
of
these
weeds are collected for sale
in
different provinces
or
even
exported.
Ten
of
these
weeds are annuals
arid
seven
perennials.
Annuals.
Centaury is a member of the Asteraceae
family
which
grows up to 1.50
m
tall,
and flowers generally from
February
t o
April.
It is a troublesome weed in
small
grain
cereals in the Settat province and probably
other
areas.
Common purslan e is
a
prostrate
member
of
the
Portula-
caceae
family
with
a fleshy stem and succulent leaves. It
grows in irrigated fields and gardens, particularly during
summer
(May
to September). It is perceived as a weed in
Morocco and 38
other
countries
(10).
Com
carawa y is an annual aromatic species in the
Apiaceae
family
which
grows up to
1
m
and flowers from
'Received
for publication
Mar.
3, 1995 and in revised form June 14, 1995.
2Weed
Scientist and Sociologist, respectively, Institut National de la
Recher-
che Agronomique,
BP
589 Settat, Morocco.
February
to
April.
It is considered as a weed in Morocco
and
five
other
countries
(10).
Mallows
include
five
edible species from
the
Malvaceae
family.
But the most common species is little mallow
which
i s found
in
Morocco and
15
other
countries
(10).
Milkvetch
is a member of the Fabaceae
family
which
grows up to 1 m and flowers from February to
April.
Flowers
an d
pods
are clustered
in
2
to
15
in
the
upper
parts
of
racemes. Pods are 2 to 5 cm by 0.5 cm.
This
weed is
found i n mediterranean countries
(16).
Spiny
emex is a member of the Polygonaceae
family
with
prostrate
stems of
1
to
2
m
in
diameter
and
spiny
fruits.
Staminate flower s are clustered at the
upper
part of ra-
cemes and pistillate
flowers
at the lower part.
As
a weed,
it
is found in Morocco and eight
other
countries
(10).
Table J. Common name and scientific name of edible
weeds
in Morocco.
Bayer
Common
name Scientific name code8
Bull
mallow Malva nicaeensis
All.
MALNI
Centaury
Centaurea
diluta
Aiton
Common
purslane Portulaca oleracea
L.
POROL
Com
caraway Ridolfia
segetum
(L.)
Moris
CRYRI
Dwarf
artichoke Cynara humilis
L.
CYUHU
Dwarf
mallow Malva rotundifolia
L.
MALPU
Friar's
cowl Arisarum vulgare
Targ.-Tozz.
AAUVU
High
mallow Malva
sylvestris
L.
MALSI
Little
mallow Malva parviflora
L.
MALPA
Milkvetch
Astragalus boeticus
L.
Pennyroyal
mint Mentha pulegium
L.
MENPU
Smaller
tree-mallow Lavatera cretica
L.
LVACR
Spanish
salsify Scolymus hispanicus
L.
SCYHI
Spiny
emex
Emex
spinosa
(L.)
Campd.
EMESP
Tassel
grapehyacinth
Muscari
comosum
(L.)
Mill.
MUSCO
White
asparagus Asparagus albus
L.
ZIPLO
Wild
jujube
Ziziphus lotus
(L.)
Lam.
ZIPLO
aBayer ,
AG.
1992.
Important
Crops
of the
World
and
Their
Weeds.
Published
by Busines s
Group
Crop
Protection,
Leverkusen,
Federal
Republic
of
Germany,
second edition , 1682 p.
617
Weed
Technology. 1995.
Volume
9:617-620
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TAN
JI
AND
NASSIF:
EDIBLE
WEEDS
IN
MOROCCO
Perennials,
Dwarf
artichoke is a perennial member of the
Asteraceae
family
which
grows
up
to
50
cm
tall.
Each
plant
gives
usually one or two heads. It flowers between March
and June.
This
weed is found also in Spain and Portugal
(16).
Friar's
cowl
is a
small
perennial species
in
the Araceae
family
wit h
only one
sagittate-ovate
leaf, rarely two, per
plant. It
propagates
only from tubers. It is common in
mediterranean countrie s
(16).
Pennyroyal
mint is a rhizomatous member of the
Lamiaceae
family
which
usually
grows
in
wet sites
includ-
ing
ditches, stream banks, and lakeshores.
Flowers
appear
from
Ma y to September.
This
aromatic plant is cultivated
in
some areas of
Morocco.
As a weed, it is found in six
other
countries
(10).
Spanish
salsify
is a perennial (sometimes biennial or
even
annual ) member of the Asteraceae
family
with
rigid
stems an d
spiny
leaves and
can
be up to 1.5
m
tall.
Flowers
usually
appear
from March to
May.
This
weed is found in
Morocco and seven
other
countries
(10).
Tassel
grapehyacinth is a perennial species in the
Liliaceae
family
with
scaly bulbs and violate flowers. It
propagates
from
bulbs.
Each
plant has
three
or four
leaves.
Upper flowers of a
cylindrical
raceme are sterile.
This
species is considered a weed in Morocco and
five
other
countries
(10).
White
asparagus is a thorny perennial member of the
Liliaceae
family
with
white woody stems up to
1
m high.
This
weed
is
common
in
Morocco
and
other
Mediterranean
countries
(16).
Wild
jujube is a deciduous thorny shrub in the Rham-
naceae
family
with
ovate
leaves
of
1
to
2
cm.
Native
stands
produce
flower s and fruits from
July
to October.
Brown
globular fruits are 1 cm. Outside Morocco, this plant is
found in North
Africa
and
other
Mediterranean countries
(16).
Edible
Parts
Table
2 indicates the different
parts
that
are
eaten
from
each weed.
Eight
weed species have edible shoots,
three
edible stems ,
two
edible
fruits,
two
edible roots,
two
edible
petioles, and one edible flowers.
Shoot
Five
species from the
mallow
family
provide edible
shoots. I t
is
not easy to identify the different species at the
vegetative
stag e
which
is the
best
time for their collection
for
food.
Mallows
emerge
immediately after the
first
fall
rains
i n October or November. In Morocco, only young
Table
2.
Part
used of commonly eaten
weeds
in Morocco.
Common
name Root Petiole Stem Flower Shoot
Fruit
Centaury
x
Commo n
purslane x
Com
caraway x
Dwarf
artichok e
x x
Friar's
cowl x
Mallows
(all 5 species) x
Milkvetch
x
Pennyroyal
mint x
Spanish
salsify x
Spiny
emex x
Tassel
grapehyacint h x
White
asparagus x
Wild
jujube
x
stems an d leaves are
cut,
steamed, and prepared
with
green
olives,
garlic, olive oil, and spices. In
other
countries,
mallows
are served as salads
(13)
or cooked
in
varied
ways
(7,
8,9,12) .
Fresh
and dry
shoots
of pennyroyal mint are always
available
in the market.
They
are either boiled
with
milk
or combined
with
tea
[Camellia
sinensis
(L.)
O.
.Kuntze]
or spearmint
(Mentha
spicata
L.)
to make hot tea. Penny-
royal
mint is also used to perfume tea when spearmint or
wormwood
(Artemisia
absinthium
L.)
is not available.
Tender
shoot s
of white asparagus are collected, boiled,
and served as salads. Shoots are generally available from
October to February.
Shoots of common purslane are collected in summer/
from
irrigate d fields. In Morocco, they are cooked in the
same wa y as mallows. In
other
countries, common
purslane
shoots
are used in salads, French and
Italian
soups, an d
pickles
(5,
13, 14).
Stem.
Youn g
stems of centaury, com caraway, and spiny
emex are peeled and
eaten
raw.
They
are generally
avail-
able
in
cultivated fields between February and
April.
Fruit.
Milkvetch
pods
are collected and
eaten
raw.
Chil-
dren, particularly shepherds, enjoy collecting and eating
milkvetch
fruits between February and
April.
Tender
pods
are totally consumed while mature
pods
are chewed,
sucked,
an d the rest is discarded. In an ongoing study by
the authors, mature
milkvetch
seeds
contain 4.14% nitro-
gen,
0.37%
phosphorus,
0.84%
potassium,
0.16%
calcium,
and 0.20% sodium.
Wild
jujube fruits are collected at maturity (September-
October) fro m plants growing in native stands. The peri-
carp is edible but the seed is discarded.
Lechevalier
(11)
618
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9. Issue 3 (July-September) 1995
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WEED
TECHNOLOGY
reported
that
fruits of
wild
jujube are consumed
in
Algeria,
Tunisia,
and
Syria.
Root.
In Morocco,
tubers
of
Friar's
cowl
are associated
with
famine periods and harsh times during the early
1940s.
They
were washed, dried, and
milled
for bread
making.
Moroccan
tubers
contain 38% starch,
1%
sugar,
and 0.76% nitrogen
(4).
Flowers.
Dwarf
artichoke
heads
are
eaten
either raw or
boiled,
fleshy receptacles are cooked
with
meat.
The
flow-
ers are used in coagulating
milk.
They
are available be-
tween February and
April.
Petiole.
Leaves
of
Spanish
salsify
and
dwarf
artichoke are
collected and petioles are
eaten
either fresh
or
cooked
with
meat.
While
Spanish
salsify
is found in the market from
October t o
January,
dwarf
artichoke is found from Febru-
ary
to
April.
Economic
Importanc e
Out of
17
weed species,
13
are marketed either season-
ally
or
throughout
the year
(Table
3).
In addition to their
use as food, some weeds have
become
a source of money
for
people. Furthermore, tassel grapehyacinth and penny-
royal
mint contribute to generating foreign currency
through export .
In
Morocco, bulbs of
tassel
grapehyacinth are not
eaten
but collected from cultivated fields between October and
January
and sold for export. In Settat province, tassel
grapehyacinth bulbs are collected and sold by
rural
people
in
local
weekly
markets. Merchants generally purchase
all
available
material on behalf of a few big exporters. Inter-
estingly,
thi s
is
not
a
recent
activity
in
Morocco.
Gattefosse
(6)
reported
that
Morocco's tassel grapehyacinth bulbs
were formall y exported to the United States of
America,
Italy,
and Greece.
Tassel
grapehyacinth bulbs are com-
monly
referred
to
by
custom administration
as
wild
onions.
Continuous removal of tassel grapehyacinth bulbs from
cultivated
fields has led to a drastic reduction of
this
weed
in
the Settat
province.
Due to the 1994-95
drought,
tassel
grapehyacinth bulbs
did
not
grow.
The
last
year's
price
was
2
dirhams per
kilogram
of
bulbs
(1
US
dollar
=
9
Moroccan
dirhams).
Pennyroyal
mint is collected at the vegetative or
flow-
ering
stage
and bundles are sold
throughout
the year.
Bennenfant (1) reported
that
shoots
were collected from
the
Sebou
river
banks
in
the northern
provinces
of
Morocco
and
sol d
to
local
factories for
processing.
In
1972,133
tons
of
pennyroyal extracted compounds were exported to
Table 3. Sales period of commonly edible
weeds
in a normal cropping year in
Morocco.
Seasona
Common
name
Fall
Winter Spring Summer
Tassel
grapehyacinth x x
Pennyroyal
mint x x x x
Mallows
(5 species) x x
Wild
jujube
x x x x
Common
purslane x
White
asparagus x x
Spanish
salsify x x
Dwarf
artichoke
x
Milkvetch
x x
aFall:
September-November;
Winter:
December-February;
Spring:
March-
May;
Summer: June-August.
Spain
an d
other
countries. In winter 1995, one bundle of
pennyroyal
mint is sold at 0.50 to
1
dirham.
Wild
jujube fruits are sold on
sidewalks
in late summer
and
fall.
Fruits
are also found
in
stores
throughout
the year.
In
winte r
1995,
one kilogram of
wild
jujube fruits cost 10
dirhams.
Bundles
of
mallows,
Spanish
salsify,
and white aspara-
gus are
sold
along
roads
and
highways,
and
also
in
markets.
Those
of common purslane are found only in the market
during the summer.
Heads an d leaves of
dwarf
artichoke are sold only in
markets during a limited period of time. In 1994, one
bundle of each of
these
weeds cost 1 to 10 dirhams,
depending o n the size and quality of the plants.
Milkvetch
pods
are assembled
in
bundles and generally
sold
along roads and near schools. It is usually purchased
by
children . The price for one bundle of
milkvetch
fruits
varies
between 0.20 and 0.50 dirhams.
Conclusion
Weeds are not always
bothersome
and have to be de-
stroyed or discarded.
They
can be valuable resources and
have multiple uses. One valuable aspect of weeds is their
use as food. Moreover, weeds can
generate
activity and
money.
As
Emerson said "a weed is a plant whose virtues
have no t yet been discovered"
(17).
This
pape r
has described 17 weed species
that
are used
as food and have economic
value.
These weeds have been
known
fo r their virtues for years
throughout
Morocco.
Further research should focus on the nutritive value of
edible weeds and their economic role.
"'o'ume 9, Issue 3 (July-September) 1995 619
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TANJI
AND
NASSIF:
EDIBLE
WEEDS
IN
MOROCCO
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Tutin ,
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620 Volume 9, Issue 3 (July-September) 1995
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... The sociodemographic characteristics of communities strongly influence their knowledge and interactions with the environment (24,25). The erosion of wild plant knowledge has been reported by several authors and it has been influenced by different variables, the most important of which are age and gender (26)(27)(28). ...
... In countries like China, India, Thailand and Bangladesh hundreds of wild edible plants are still consumed along with domesticated species [10]. The role of these safe to eat plant species in preserving human and environmental fitness has been suggested [11,12]. In depth studies concerning its nutritional position have additionally been highlighted in lots of surveys around the world [13]. ...
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Gastronomi kavramının bilim ve turizm anlamında ivmeli gelişimi, uluslararası kültürel etkileşimi de olumlu yönde etkilemektedir. Bu kültürel etkileşim, beraberinde markalaşma ihtiyacını doğurmuş ve ülkeler yemek kültürlerindeki değerli gıda ürünlerini imajları haline dönüştürmüştür. Bu imaj sayesinde ülkeler diğer ülke insanlarını etkileyerek mutfaklarını pazarlayabilmiş ve kültürler arası bir bağ kurabilme imkânı yakalamıştır. Yemeğin temsil gücü ve kültürü yansıtması ile ulusal mutfaklar ve yemek kültürüne olan bağlılık artmıştır. (Bucak ve Yiğit, 2019). Böylelikle “gastrodiplomasi” kavramı zaman içinde ortaya çıkmaya başlamıştır. Yeme içme alışkanlıkları, yemek ve mutfak gelenekleri, milli marşlar ve bayraklar gibi milli kimliği sembolize etmektedir. Milli kimlik, vatandaşları ortak duygular etrafında birleştirmektedir. Sembolik güç ve kültürel kimlik çıkarımları söz konusu olduğunda, yemek de bir istisna değildir. Yemek, sosyal aktörler ile kültürel geçmişleri, ortak ailesel ve dini kimlik bağları ile toplumsal kimlik anlatıları arasında bağlantılar kurmaktadır. Milli duygular ile ulusa ait mutfak kültürünün korunarak güçlendirilmesini amaç edinen çalışmalar “gastromilliyetçilik” ya da “mutfak milliyetçiliği” olarak karşımıza çıkmaktadır (DeSoucey, 2010). Gastromilliyetçilik ve gastrodiplomasi kavramlarının birlikte incelenmesinin temelindeki ana sebep, her iki kavramın da benzer amaçlara hizmet etmesidir. Uluslara ait mutfak kültürlerinin korunarak gelecek nesillere eksiksiz aktarılması, her çağda eski esintilerini kaybetmeden yaşatılması ve kültürel bir değer olarak markalaşması ile çekim unsuru haline getirilmesi de bahsi geçen bu ortak amaçlar arasındadır (Bucak ve Yiğit, 2019).
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Son yıllarda insan nüfusunun artması ve değişen tüketici eğilimleri ile alternatif protein kaynakları üzerine çeşitli biyoteknolojik araştırmalar ve çalışmalar artmıştır. Bilim insanlarının yenilebilir gıda alternatifleri ve alternatif protein kaynaklarını araştırmaları beraberinde genetiği değiştirilmiş organizmalar, böcekler, algler ve in vitro (yapay et) önemli alternatif protein kaynakları olmakla beraber son yıllarda yapay et üzerinde yapılan araştırmaların önemi artmıştır. Et gibi doğal hayvansal proteinin yerini alabilecek yeni protein kaynakları arayışının önemli ekonomik, besleyici ve çevresel etkilerinin olması ve et endüstrisinde büyük bir fark yaratması beklenmektedir. Et ürünlerine alternatif kullanılan ilk protein kaynakları bitkiler ve mantarlar (mikroproteinler) olup, böcekler, su mercimeği ve alglerin (yosunlar) yanı sıra kültürlenmiş et (in Vitro) de önemli protein kaynağıdır.
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Turizm pazarındaki vegan nüfusunun artması, turizmin daha sürdürülebilir yaklaşımla ele alınması gerekliliği ve diğer destinasyonların vegan yiyecek turizmine yönelik sundukları imkânlar vegan yiyecek turizminin ön plana çıkmasını sağlamıştır. Bu nedenle, vegan yiyecek turizminin Türkiye’deki mevcut durumunu ve potansiyelini ortaya çıkarmak amacıyla bu çalışma gerçekleştirilmiştir.
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The present study mainly focused on the traditional wild food plants used by primitive tribes of Kotial hills, Vizianagaram District, Andhra Pradesh. A total of 75 species were documented as wild plants used for food purposes. Among the 75 species, 28 species are trees followed by 26 herbs, 11 climbers and 10 shrubs. Generally, herbaceous plant species are utilized as verdant vegetables. It has been seen that the customary information on wild food plants is on sharp decay. Except if endeavors are made to teach the more youthful generation about their significance, it is very well might be lost in not so distant future. The present study showed that there is an earnest requirement for documentation of customary information identified with the elusive social legacy concerning conventional plant employments. The usage and development of these vegetables ought to be elevated to keep up with the dietary requirements of the people in Andhra Pradesh.
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Les épices et les plantes à parfum
  • Bonnenfant
Bonnenfant, C. R 1981. Les epices et les plantes a parfum. Maroc Agricole 9(131): 13-20.
Index synonymique des taxons presents dans les milieux culitves ou artificialises du Maroc occidental et central
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Boulet, C, A. Tanji, and A. Taleb. Index synonymique des taxons presents dans les milieux culitves ou artificialises du Maroc occidental et central. Actes Inst. Agron. V6t 9:65-98.
La Toxicologie au Maroc. Mémoires de la Société des
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Chamot, H. 1945. La Toxicologic au Maroc. Memoires de la Societe des Sciences Naturelles au Maroc No 47, Rabat, 826 p.
Possibilité de valorisation de la flore marocaine
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Gattefosse, J. 1941. Possibility de valorisation de la flore marocaine. La Terre Marocaine 11(139):21 -23.
How to Enjoy Your Weeds
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Hatfield, A. W. 1973. How to Enjoy Your Weeds. Sterling Publishing Co, Inc., New York, 192 p.