Diversity of medicinal plants traded in markets within and around Kampala city
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An ethnobotanical study about medicinal plant species was carried out in markets within and around Kampala City with a view to understanding the diversity of plants and plant parts sold. . Data was obtained through interviews with traders in medicinal plants using semi-structured questionnaire. Diversity and variation in species composition across the studied markets was analyzed using the SIMilarity PERcentage (SIMPER) and ANalysis Of SIMilarity (ANOSIM) in Community Analysis Package (CAP) Software. A total of 84 medicinal plant species from 77 genera representing 43 families were reported in the treatment of various health conditions. The most species-rich families were; Lamiaceae (7 species), Asteraceae (7), Euphorbiaceae (7), Leguminaceae (6) and Solanaceae (5), while the most species-rich genera was Solanum. Species composition differed significantly (Global RANOSIM = 0.1866, p = 0.002) among the markets. The common plant species that contributed highly (over 60% of the cumulative percentage) to the average similarity among the medicinal plant stalls within all the markets were: Mormodica foetida Schumach, Hoslundia opposita Vahl., Aerva lanata L. Suss. ex Schult., Vernonia grantii Oliv., and Vernonia amydalina Delile. Leaves (80.5) were the most frequently used / sold plant parts in the treatment of various health conditions. Some medicinal plants are reported to be used to treat more than one disease. For example, Hoslundia opposita leaves are used to treat yellow fever and stomach ache, while Milicia excelsa roots are used to treat wounds and its bark is used to treat cough and heart diseases. The high diversity of medicinal plant species in the markets studied implies that the residents and traders within and around Kampala City still value and appreciate the contribution of these plants and the trade in them towards their health care and livelihoods. Keywords: Medicinal plants, ANalysis Of SIMilarity (ANOSIM), SIMilarity PERcentage (SIMPER), diversity, health conditions.