A survey of thirty (30) home gardens in Odeda Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogun State, Southwestern Nigeria was conducted to assess plants grown and maintained by household members and the diversity of vegetal species and their uses. Semi-structured questionnaire and structured interviews were used to collect useful information. A total of 120 plant species belonging to 50 botanical families were documented. From the data, Euphorbiaceae, Solanaceae, Rutaceae, Malvaceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Poaceae and Apocynaceae (in order of decreasing number of species) were the most frequent families. Taxa such as Musa species,Vernonia amygdalina, Citrus species, Psidium guajava and Terminalia catapa were found to be the common food/medicinal plants as evidenced by their densities in the study sites. The household members cited most of the plants as food; others as medicinal and ornamentals. Miscellaneous uses include cosmetics, ceremonial and scouring. Species composition, shapes/structures as well as plant uses are discussed. Home garden products serve alimentary purposes and represent promising base materials for poverty alleviation and may also help to augment “fresh” food nutrient intake. The wealth of the home gardens may be related to the rural origin and to the culture of the owners who still keep a cultivation tradition. Some plant species are frequent. This may suggest uniformity in plant use and could contribute to the conservation of local species. Home gardens can also be regarded as ‘humble’ germplasm bases; hence, the need to re-energize the productive capacity of home gardens.
Key words: Agro-forest systems, home garden, ethnobotany, diversity, Odeda, Southwestern Nigeria.
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