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Author Notes:

Correspondence: avni.hajdari@uni-pr.edu

BM and AH conceived and designed the study, XK, BP, AH performed the interviews, and CQ, AP and AH analyzed the data.

AH and BM wrote the paper; AP and CQ provided revisions.

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the communities and people who agreed to participate in this study.

Thanks to Matthew Dorian for assistance with MATLAB® programing.

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


Research Funding:

We thank the US Embassy in Kosovo, for financial support of the field research (grant no. S-KV420-14GR-096).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Pharmacology & Pharmacy
  • Ethnobotany
  • Sharr Mountains
  • Folk medicine
  • Kosovo
  • Medicinal plants
  • Wild food plants
  • ALPS

A cross-cultural comparison of folk plant uses among Albanians, Bosniaks, Gorani and Turks living in south Kosovo


Journal Title:

Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine


Volume 11


, Pages 39-39

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background: Kosovo represents a unique hotspot of biological and cultural diversity in Europe, which allows for interesting cross-cultural ethnobotanical studies. The aims of this study were twofold: 1) to document the state of traditional knowledge related to local (esp. wild) plant uses for food, medicine, and handicrafts in south Kosovo; and 2) to examine how communities of different ethnic groups in the region (Albanians, Bosniaks/Gorani, and Turks) relate to and value wild botanical taxa in their ecosystem. Methods: Field research was conducted in 10 villages belonging to the Prizren municipality and 4 villages belonging to the Dragash municipality, located in the Sharr Mountains in the southern part of Kosovo. Snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 139 elderly informants (61 Albanians, 32 Bosniaks/Gorani and 46 Turks), for participation in semi-structured interviews regarding the use of the local flora for medicinal, food, and handicraft purposes. Results: Overall, we recorded the local uses of 114 species were used for medicinal purposes, 29 for food (wild food plants), and 20 in handicraft activities. The most important species used for medicinal purposes were Achillea millefolium L., Sambucus nigra L., Urtica dioica L., Tilia platyphyllos Scop. Hypericum perforatum L., Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert, Thymus serpyllum L. and Vaccinium myrtillus L. Chamomilla recutita was the most highly valued of these species across the populations surveyed. Out of 114 taxa used for medicinal purposes, only 44 species are also included in the European Pharmacopoeia. The predominantly quoted botanical families were Rosaceae, Asteraceae, and Lamiaceae. Comparison of the data recorded among the Albanian, Bosniak/Gorani, and Turkish communities indicated a less herbophilic attitude of the Albanian populations, while most quoted taxa were quoted by all three communities, thus suggesting a hybrid character of the Kosovar plant knowledge. Conclusion: Cross-cultural ethnobiological studies are crucial in the Balkans not only for proposing ways of using plant natural resources, which could be exploited in sustainable local development projects (e.g. focusing on eco-tourism and small-scale trade of medicinal herbs, food niche and handicrafts products), but also for fostering collaboration and reconciliation among diverse ethnic and religious communities.

Copyright information:

© 2015 Mustafa et al.; licensee BioMed Central. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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