The Importance of Being Diverse: The Idiosyncratic Ethnobotany of the Reka Albanian Diaspora in North Macedonia

Berisha, Rinor and Sõukand, Renata and Nedelcheva, Anely and Pieroni, Andrea (2022) The Importance of Being Diverse: The Idiosyncratic Ethnobotany of the Reka Albanian Diaspora in North Macedonia. Diversity, 14 (11).

[img] Text (Research Article)
diversity-14-00936.pdf - Published Version

Download (4MB)
Official URL:


Cultural diversity and biodiversity are strongly intertwined through the ways in which local human communities have understood, categorized, perceived, and used nature and species for centuries. Folk nomenclature and uses of wild plants in particular are strongly linked to specific ethno-diversities and have often been considered as cultural markers. In the current study, through thirty-one interviews with elderly villagers, the ethnobotany of five Albanian villages in North Macedonia was recorded, as these villages are inhabited by descendants of Reka Albanians, whose peculiar dialect and customs have been the subject in the past of some linguistic, historical, and ethnographic works. A few folk names and utilizations of commonly used species (such as Rumex, Urtica, Tilia, Crocus, and Hypericum spp.), as well as the traditional customs of collecting tree cambium during the spring and ritually adorning home doors with Cornus mas and Salix spp. branches on St. George’s Day, partially overlap Macedonian/Bulgarian folklore, and, to a minor extent, data previously collected in NE Albania and South Kosovo. Nevertheless, some archaic uses (such as the consumption of Crocus corms) remain very idiosyncratic. While the origin of the Reka Albanians and the exact historical reasons for their peculiar ethnobotany practices cannot be exactly established, the data showed that this cultural group living at the cultural edge between the Albanian and South Balkan Slavic realms has maintained its diversity until the present. Its uniqueness should be valorized and celebrated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnobotany; Albanians; Reka; North Macedonia; Slavic folklore
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QK Botany
R Medicine > RV Botanic, Thomsonian, and eclectic medicine
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Depositing User: ePrints deposit
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2023 12:34
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2023 12:34

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item