African indigenous vegetable species (AIVS) provide a means of livelihood to many urban and peri-urban dwellers in Uganda. It was thus deemed necessary to understand the existing diversity and distribution of the traditional African vegetable species as a basis for recommending conservation and utilization strategies against biodiversity loss. A field survey was conducted in the four major agro-ecological zones of Uganda to provide information on a recent abundance of the various AIVS. Results from the survey showed that the Solanaceae (43.4%), Amaranthaceae (15.5%) and Malvaceae (11.6%) were the most prevalent families out of seven different families encountered. Twenty-three (23) species, a number lower than that initially reported in literature and distributed unevenly in the different regions were identified. Majority of the species were the indigenous rather than introduced vegetable species. Firstly, the study is informative of the superior importance of Solanaceous species compared to other AIVS. Secondly, the survey results indicate that the AIVS are becoming increasingly more important in Uganda than their introduced counterparts since all the 43.4% that composed the Solanaceae majority were of indigenous type. Research efforts should be devoted towards improved variety development and germplasm conservation to prevent a possible biodiversity loss of the most important AIVS for increased household incomes and nutrient security among the resource-poor majority in Uganda and other sub-Saharan Africa countries.
Key words: Crop biodiversity, germplasm collection, indigenous vegetables, species abundance.
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