Orchids are mostly known for their beautiful flowers, and food-flavoring products which make them a resource of great economic importance in the global horticultural and food industries. But in the Southern African region, orchids are particularly important for their tubers which are used for food, and are therefore traded within and across the countries. A number of researchers have reported a dramatic rise in the demand for these orchids in Zambia, which has forced traders to seek the tubers from outside the country. This has raised concerns about their sustainability as high exploitation pressure threatens the future existence of these wild edible orchids. Based on information from literature and from reconnaissance, ethnobotanical and social economic surveys that were undertaken in Mzimba and Kasungu districts, this paper reviews and examines these developments, with a focus on Malawi. The review highlights some of the areas that require more attention in terms of research and policy interventions, namely identification of all edible orchids, domestication of edible orchids, and trade controls.
Key words: Disa, domestication, edible orchids, Habenaria, Malawi, Satyrium.
Copyright © 2022 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0