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J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2009 Dec 22;5:42. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-5-42.

Knowledge, use and ecology of golden thistle (Scolymus hispanicus L.) in central Spain.

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  • 1Departamento de Biología (Botánica), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, c/Darwin 2, Campus de Cantoblanco, E-28049 Madrid, Spain.



This paper assesses the current ethnobotanical knowledge, use and management of Scolymus hispanicus L. in two localities of Central Spain and the relation with its natural abundance. It also addresses the influence of sociodemographic factors such as age, gender and time living in the village in the variation of knowledge and practice levels.


During 2007 and 2008, 99 semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire were made to a random stratified sample by sex and age, asking them about their traditional knowledge and practices (use and gathering) of Scolymus hispanicus. A knowledge and practice (KP) index was created based on the answers to the questionnaire.


Scolymus hispanicus is still gathered and consumed by 20% and 35% of the informants, respectively. According to the KP index, the knowledge and practice level is similar in both villages. Age and time living in the village are the factors that better explain the variability in the KP level. People living for more than ten years in the village and those older than 60 years have the highest knowledge level, whereas the younger than 19 the lowest.


Our data suggests that the prevalence of ethnobotanical knowledge and uses depends more on the cultural importance of the plant and the transmission of such popular knowledge than on the resource's abundance.

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