The Yem people have a deep-rooted and ancient traditional knowledge of managing human and livestock ailments and health conditions using medicinal plants that are mass collected from Bori Mountain, in Southern Ethiopia. The study was conducted in October, 2013 and October, 2016 aimed to document this event. Ethnobotanical data were collected using semi-structured interviews from 60 informant appraised by transects, convenience sampling, and participant observation. Floristic data were obtained by inventory of plant species. Three (400 m by 20 m) that were laid on the Mt. to capture diverse plant species used for 'SAMO ETA'. Results indicate that the 'SAMO ETA' event is a combination of culture, religion and mountain biodiversity. In total, 152 plant species were recorded. The most prominent species include, 'arkewa' (Juniperus procera), 'fegegu' (Olinia rochetiana), 'oyazu' (Inula confertiflora), 'taseta’ (Haplocarpha rueppellii), 'odu' (Myrsine melanophoeos), ‘danifofa’ (Alchemilla abyssinica) and ‘akenchireta’ (Antopetitia abyssinica). It is concluded that the mountain has significant role in providing home remedies for primary health care, for socio-cultural, economic and biodiversity values to the Yem people. Thus this unique semi-religious tradition should be conserved and it should be registered under UNESCO’s intangible heritage, and Bori Mountain should be included under the National Medicinal Plants in situ gene pool conservation sites.
Keywords: 'arkewa', mountain ecosystem, overexploitation, St. Stephen, 'taseta', traditional knowledge