Ethnobotanical and vegetation survey of kiango’mbe and Kianjiru Hill Forests In Embu County, Kenya
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International Scholars Journals
Ethnobotanical study and vegetation survey was carried out in Kiang’ombe and Kianjiru hill forests of Embu County to evaluate the indigenous knowledge relevant to malaria cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention as well as to establish the hills’ medicinal plants species diversity. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to gather ethnobotanical information while trees with diameter at breast height ≥5 cm, shrubs and herbs were sampled by use of 20×20, 5×5 and 1×1 m plots respectively. Malaria symptoms mentioned in this study were in concurrent with the widely acceptable ones and they included: headache, vomiting, loss of appetite, joint pains and fever. Mosquito was recognized as the main malaria vector. Fifty six species belonging to 31 families were documented from the ethnobotanical study. Achyrothalamus marginatus, Dombeya rotundifolia, Monanthotaxis schweinfurthii and Premna resinosa were documented for the first time in this study indicating high endemism. Barks, roots, trees and shrubs were the most commonly harvested parts and growth forms respectively. Charcoal burning, timber harvesting, grazing and forest fires were observed. Kianjiru had significantly (P≤0.001) higher diversity index (H’=2.92) than Kiango’mbe (H’=2.63). The two hill forests are major sources of medicinal plants and therefore the need to conserve them.