Conservation And Cultural Aspect Of Mkilua Fragrans Verdc. At The Kenyan Coastal Lowlands
Najya Muhammed, Mohamed Pakia, Moses Wainaina
Key words: Mkilua fragrans Verdc, East African coastal culture, Annonaceae, perfumery, indigenous knowledge, Digo, Swahili
Abstract: Mkilua fragrans Verdc belongs to the Annonaceae family and is part of the biological diversity of the coastal forests of east African coast region. The Swahili and Digo communities of the kenyan coastal lowlands have engaged in traditional perfumery using various plants and Mkilua fragrans being one of the major sources. Drawing from the semi-structured interviews using questionaires, open-ended focused group discussion that involved 30 Mkilua growers and enterprenuers of Mkilua products, residing in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu counties of Kenya respectively. It was established that Mkilua enjoys a considerable ex situ conservation and the mkilua flower is known for its aphrodisiac power to keep men (husbands) indoors after sun-set. There are also beliefs related to Mkilua, of ‘fish water’ washings (“maji ya samaki”) for fertilizing the Mkilua plants, which enhances the plant vigor, flower quality and its scent which was scientifically proven to show that indigenous knowledge have scientific basis; where culture meets science .
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