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Rural people of Ethiopia are endowed with a deep knowledge concerning the use of wild plants. This is particularly true for the use of medicinal plants, but also for wild plants, some of which are consumed at times of drought, war and other hardship. Elders and other knowledgeable community members are the key sources or 'reservoirs' of plant lore. Wild-food consumption is still very common in rural areas of Ethiopia, particularly with children. Among the most common wild plant fruits consumed by children are, for example, fruits from Ficus spp, Carissa edulis and Rosa abyssinica plant species.

The consumption of wild plants seems more common and widespread in food insecure areas where a wide range of species is consumed. The linkage has given rise to the notion of 'famine-foods', plants consumed only at times of food stress and therefore an indicator of famine conditions. Local people know about the importance and the contribution of wild plants to their daily diet as well as being aware of possible health hazards such as stomach irritation occasionally occurring after consumption of certain wild plants.