African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 780

Full Length Research Paper

Plants used in material culture in Oromo community, Jimma, Southwest Oromia, Ethiopia

Balcha Abera
Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Jimma University, Ethiopia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 14 June 2013
  •  Published: 31 July 2013



Since antiquity, plants have been used as a source of material culture by the human societies. The purpose of this study was to assess the plant species and associated traditional knowledge used in making material cultures. A quantitative method (structured interviews and questionnaire) was used to collect data. A total of 75 key informants above 45 age groups were questioned and data on the plant species, handcrafts, traditional arts, cultural uses were recorded and analyzed in percentages, preference ranking, direct matrix and paired comparison. In addition, a total of 225 community members of several age groups and educational levels responded to determine the status of traditional knowledge transfer and its current application. A total of 46 plant species used in material culture were identified from the study area. About 54% of the material objects identified are made from trees and the rest 46% are obtained from shrub and herb. The most multipurpose and preferred plant species reported by informants were Arundinaria alpine,Eucalyptus spp., Cordia africana, Baphia abyssinica, Galiniera saxifrage and others. The traditional knowledge is widely held by male (53%) as compared to both male and female (27%) and female (20%). Finally, this study reveals the decline of the transfer of traditional botanical knowledge (TBK) through generation but a wide use of plant-based material culture by the rural communities.


Key words: Ethnobotany, ethnicity, preference ranking, traditional knowledge, Ethiopia.