Diversity, Ecological and Traditional Knowledge of Pteridophytes in the Western Himalayas

Aadil Abdullah Khoja, Shiekh Marifatul Haq, Muhammad Majeed, Musheerul Hassan, Muhammad Waheed, Umer Yaqoob, Rainer W. Bussmann, Abed Alataway, Ahmed Z. Dewidar, Mohamed Al-Yafrsi, Hosam O. Elansary, Kowiyou Yessoufou, Wajid Zaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Pteridophytes have been used by humans for millennia, but in comparison to flowering plants, the documentation of their traditional uses is still neglected; as a result, they must be highlighted and popularized. The present study was carried out from January 2019 to November 2021 to gather ecological and traditional use information on pteridophytes from local inhabitants of the Kashmir valley via semi-structured personal interviews and group discussions. We recorded 58 pteridophyte species belonging to 13 families. The distributions of the species among the families were unequal, with four families constituting more than half of the total species (Dryopteridaceae 26%, Woodsiaceae 17%, Aspleniaceae 14%, and Pteridaceae (14%). The highest numbers of species (45%) were found growing on the forest floor, followed by those growing in rock crevices (26%). This was supported further by a cluster analysis, which identified two primary clusters based on the species presence in different habitats. Half of the species (56%) were reported from altitudes below 2000m, followed by 19% from 2001–2500m, and 8% (e.g., Deparia allantodioides, Dryopteris xanthomelas, Asplenium viride) from 3001–3500m. Among the documented species (N = 58), only 28 species had a traditional usage (as medicine, vegetables, for oral hygiene, and for veterinary use). The aerial parts were most commonly used (64%) followed by the rachis (18%). The highest use value was observed for Diplazium maximum and the lowest for Asplenium fontanum. The findings of our study contribute baseline data to fill the existing knowledge gaps on ecological and traditional knowledge of pteridophytes in the Himalayas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number628
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Kashmir Himalayas
  • altitude
  • composition
  • distribution
  • habitat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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