Participatory identification and characterisation of shea butter tree (Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.) ethnovarieties in Burkina Faso

Introduction – Vitellaria paradoxa (shea) is an economically important edible oil-producing tree for local populations in African savannahs. However, domesticating these trees requires that scientific information is fully exploited. The objective of this study is to identify and characterize the different morphotypes of shea in three areas of Burkina Faso, assuming that the different varieties of shea are morphotypes for which the local populations hold the key to their description and their denomination. Materials and methods – This study used a participatory approach involving local communities in data collection, thus combining local knowledge with biometric measurements of shea fruit and leaves. The different variants of shea, classified according to local criteria, received the denomination of ‘ethnovarieties’ (EV). Data were collected over two years in three villages: Yarci, Yantenga and You. Results and discussion – Local communities use the characteristics of fruits and leaves to identify and describe EV. In the three study sites 13 EV were identified and classified in four groups: (i) Pulp/flesh fruits; (ii) Fruits with a high yield of almond butter; (iii) Pulp and butter fruits; (iv) Pulp fruits unfit for human consumption. Conclusion – Local people have a strong knowledge of shea morphotypes significant in the management of natural resources. Further study using molecular analysis of microsatellites would contribute to better understand the observed morphological variability.
Authors: Sandwidi, A.; Diallo, B.O.; Lamien, N.; Vinceti, B.; Sanon, K.; Coulibaly, P.; Paré, S.; Sawadogo, M.
Subjects: genetic variation, fruit trees
Publication type: Journal Article, Non-ISI, Publication
Year: 2018
ISSN: 0248-1294

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